Friday, October 14, 2011

When do you call it plagiarism?

Sometimes it's really hard to tell if our idea is truly original anymore.  Same idea different execution?  Different idea same creative strategy?  What we think of here today, is also thought by someone else somewhere else.  When the world was divided (read: world without the wide web), it was much more difficult to aggregate creative work.  Maybe it has been happening all this while, with or without the internet. It's just gotten a lot more in your face to watch your idea being executed with the most uncanny similarities on YouTube.

Watch this (Subaru, Japan, Dentsu Kansai, 2010):

And then compare with this (Audi, London, BBHLondon, 2011):

What if two different teams in two different parts of the world have the same idea.  Upon client approval, started executing it and at the end, one produced faster than the other.  If you were the one in the midst of production and so happened on a beautiful hummingbird chirping morning clicked, and watched in horror the same idea being executed in another part of the world.  What would you do?  Would you stop the commercial and burn the money?  Or would you proceed and bear industry mockery after you launch the campaign, even though you could have been the one who conceived the idea wayyyyyy before the other team?  It's such a subjective and grey area.  So if this was the scenario, and the team which was able to launch the commercial faster, subsequently submit it for awards, will of course stand a higher chance of scoring it.  Do you see the fundamental problem here?  What this essentially means is, the metal is awarded to the team who executed the campaign first.  It has nothing to do with WHO conceived it first.  It's based on speed that kinda stems from a lot of luck.  Would this be an industry problem?  Do we close one eye and pretend this is not happening?  What is the implication on us anyway?  And more importantly what is the implication of this on intellectual property and creative thinking?

Good question.


  1. I don't think the ads have the same idea at all. The execution may be similar but they are saying completely different things. Both are impeccably executed- and the details are beautiful. Anyone who had anything to do with either ad should be congratulated- and if the industry wants to pour scorn on either ad all I have to say is "So how come you didn't do it first?"
    They are both lovely in their own way.

  2. Yea, I think it's this debate of 'same idea, different execution', 'same execution, different idea', etc. I do agree, both are well executed, just wondering about this 'speed to market' thing... like how clients would compete on who launches what first, will agencies be pushed to compete on who produces what first?