“A dispute over the uniqueness of a popular new commercial for the Apple iPod is again raising the issue of what constitutes originality in advertising,” Stuart Elliott writes for The New York Times. “…Bloggers have posted scores of comments describing and decrying what they have deemed to be far too many similarities between the Apple commercial ["Detroit"], created by the longtime Apple agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day, and a spot ["Arrow"] produced three years ago by another agency, which was selling the Lugz brand of boots. In a statement late yesterday, its first since the debate began a week ago, TBWA/Chiat/Day said any resemblance between the commercials was ‘disappointing and surprising’ as well as ‘regrettable.'”

Elliott reports, “…The senior executive of the agency that created the Lugz spot, Avrett Free Ginsberg, to write Apple and TBWA/Chiat/Day, questioning what he called the ‘many similarities’ between the commercials. ‘It is often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and in most cases I would agree,’ Frank Ginsberg, chairman and chief executive of Avrett Free in New York, wrote in his letter, a copy of which was shared with reporters. ‘But sometimes, imitation crosses the line.'”

“‘We’re very upset,’ Larry Schwartz, executive vice president and principal at Lugz in New York, said in an interview. ‘The look and feel are awfully similar. We think very highly of Apple. We don’t understand how this could have happened.’ In the statement from TBWA/Chiat/Day, part of the TBWA Worldwide unit of the Omnicom Group, the agency described itself as ‘dedicated to creating original ideas. We do not plagiarize, borrow, or steal them, and have a strict policy of not accepting third-party ideas in our creative process,’ the statement read,” Elliott reports. “…In its statement, TBWA/Chiat/Day said, ‘We can assure you that the ‘Detroit’ spot was created without any reference by TBWA/Chiat/Day to the ‘Arrow’ spot. Our intention was to develop a campaign that was a natural and independent evolution of the ‘Silhouettes’ campaign,’ the statement read. ‘Any similarities between the two spots are regrettable.'”

Full article here.
This is perhaps the best thing that ever happened for the Avrett Free Ginsberg ad agency. Where’s the mass media’s outcry about actual products that try to copy Apple? For example, Microsoft Windows?

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