Apple takes heat for Eminem iPod+iTunes ad’s similarity to 4-year-old Lugz spot

“Apple Computer, known for its trend-setting technology, finds itself in the uncomfortable position of being labeled a follower — or worse, a rip-off artist — over a new ad campaign,” Holly M. Sanders writes for The New York Post. “Apple’s new ad featuring rapper Eminem, set to his hit ‘Lose Yourself,’ is under scrutiny after some keen ad watchers suggested it bears a startling resemblance to an earlier commercial for Lugz boots… The 4-year-old Lugz ad was created by New York animation house Psyop on behalf of another ad agency. The Apple spot, developed by the computer maker’s longtime agency TBWA, was introduced last week by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs at an industry gathering to launch the new video iPod.”

Sanders writes, “Both ads show hip-hop figures dancing in silhouette against an orange-hued, urban backdrop with plenty of graffiti. There are some differences worth noting as well, such as the dancing styles and music. ‘To my eye, the similarities are painfully close, and it’s unfortunate that such a prestigious client buys into such re-used stuff,” one observer, who goes by the cheeky name “think similar,’ wrote on the blog TBWA referred calls to Apple. A spokesman for Apple declined to comment on the ads. Justin Booth-Clibborn, executive producer for Psyop, said his firm has endured its share of copycats and there are no plans to ‘make waves.’ Still, he admits that even he was struck by the similarities.”

Full article here.
Jobs said they’d been working on the Eminem ad for over two years. Sure, TBWA might have some explaining to do to Jobs, but this is just some NY Post-style ado about nothing. Advertising agencies pride themselves on recycling ideas. It’s one of the basic tools of the business. Hopefully that ad sold a lot of boots the first time around and now it’ll sell a lot of iPods and iTunes Music Store music and video files. Apple deserves no heat over this one. TBWA does.

The New iPod with Video.  The ultimate music + video experience on the go.  Buy it now at the Apple Store. From $299. Free shipping.
The New iMac G5 – Built-in iSight camera and remote control with Front Row media experience. From $1299. Free shipping.

Related article:
Apple’s Eminem iPod+iTunes ad airs on U.S. television networks – October 17, 2005
Apple reposts Eminem iPod+iTunes ad online – October 17, 2005
Apple removes new Eminem iPod ad from website – October 12, 2005


  1. They’re both very cool ads but Apple is not looking very innovative in it’s choice of ad agencies. This ad style is 3 years too late, behind the Lugz ad.
    What makes it worse is how excited Jobs was when showing this at the last week and apple was working on it for the last 2 years. OOOOps, someones head will role for making his highness look like the court jester….

  2. gforce –

    You (like myself) are showing your age……

    I’d like to see “Geico” style Apple commercials anyways….. Like something to the effect, “I just saved a lot of money that I would have spent on Virus protection software by swiching to OS-X! Yeah, baby!”
    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”tongue wink” style=”border:0;” />

  3. ok

    i work for an ad/interactive agency and it IS NOT apple’s job to research ads that are presented for them for approval. i don’t have one client (most are bigger than apple) that would know that this ad concept was used before unless it was plastered everywhere.

    this is really TBWA’s fault and they should take the hit for it. their creative people that produced the ad or the production house that they used to create the special FX should be held accountable.

    jeez. i wipe my ass with the Post

  4. “Apple’s ad agency ‘ads’ nothing to the product. Ask any ten people you know if they’ve heard about OSX and what it does—you’ll get blank stares.”

    this is apple’s decision. apple decides where they spend their advertising dollars, not TBWA. you can’t tell a company what they should and shouldn’t advertise

  5. TBWA/Chiat/Day has been making a lot of bad decisions in their ads lately, either due to a lack of research or common sense. Just this past Monday, Nissan pulled their latest ad that featured “Colonel Bogey’s Song” from <i>Bridge on the River Kwai</a>.

    For some reason, it never occurred to TBWA/Chiat/Day that a Japanese automaker using a song from a movie about American and British POWs (forced into slave labor by the Japanese) might be offensive to veterans who served in the Pacific during WWII.

  6. Real close clone copy of the Lugz ad- Psyops produced animation!!!

    And, what is that thing in Em´s hand that he keeps putting to his mouth???? – looks like a vibrator.

    Not cool Apple.


    Tip to Steve – get out and see the real world, you´ve been too long inside having meetings in your Apple world.

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