Many of us in advertising know that ideas are brought up and shot down all the time. Most creative and writers keep files full of ideas that they hope they will one day have a chance of presenting again and will see the light. Say, maybe this tv spot idea for underarm deodorant in 1999 wouldn’t work, but perhaps I can tweak it and get it to fly for this ladies apparel retailer in 2008.
Many of us also ascribe to the “what’s old is new again” school. A retro twist or a play on some old 1950’s ad. Let’s use this wonderful technology we have and put John Wayne in our new spot, even though he’s been dead for many years.
There has been one little secret that lots of the big boys have employed, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to fly anymore. 20 or 15 years ago or even less, it wouldn’t be uncommon for American creatives to have somebody in Russia, China, Japan, Italy, Brazil, Morroco, India or basically anywhere outside of the U.S. feed them copies of print, radio and t.v. spots, which might act as fuel for some “original” campaign for a nice American product. The American production values would usually be higher and just different enough and the likelihood of some used mule lot in Minsk catching on that their latest creative is being repurposed to some American snack food was pretty slim.
And then enter the internet or more specifically Youtube. Now Youtube, Hulu, Current, Blinx, Meta Café, Vimeo and one of several hundred other video sites, along with hundreds of thousands of sites of all kind are out there. So before Dewey, Cheetem and How gets to Pitch their latest campaign, lifted from some Sao Paulo butt floss special, there’s a good chance that this particular little piece of video has already been seen by 16,438,652 via YouTube and passed along to another 8 million or so via Facebook, twitter or as email attachments.
Bob Garfield, Advertising Age writer and author of “And Now A Few Words From Me”, (which in my opinion is must reading for anyone remotely involved in advertising) seems to think that all advertising is in one fashion or another plagiarism. In his aforementioned book, he discusses quite a few award winning ads that were perhaps a bit less than original.
Norman Lear purchased the American rights to a British show called “Til Death Do us Part”, which he then turned into the amazingly popular American show, “All in the Family”. “Sanford and Son” came from a British show called “Steptoe and Son”. And If we look at almost any situation comedy on tv today, one will find in some way a resemblance to one or more episodes of “I love Lucy”.
Of course, those are two examples where the original creators were compensated for thier efforts; not always the case for tv and motion pictures and rarely ever the case for an ad.
I’m not sure who it was who said that there were only a finite number of plots to go around, but if you cut through all the trim and lace, I think he or she has got a good point.
So, given the shrinking world, the incredible rate at which this world is consuming content of all kinds and the need for every single person, place and thing to have its own brand, one must ask exactly where the next award winning great ad will be stolen from.
Warning: fopen(/home/content/72/4330872/html/wp-content/plugins/wp-google-plus-one/lib/standard.txt) [function.fopen]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/content/72/4330872/html/wp-content/plugins/wp-google-plus-one/plusone.php on line 104
Warning: fread() expects parameter 1 to be resource, boolean given in /home/content/72/4330872/html/wp-content/plugins/wp-google-plus-one/plusone.php on line 105
Warning: fclose() expects parameter 1 to be resource, boolean given in /home/content/72/4330872/html/wp-content/plugins/wp-google-plus-one/plusone.php on line 106