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.

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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. MDN´s as usual out-of-touch take: “Advertising agencies pride themselves on recycling ideas.”

    Yeah, sure MDN, as if you have ever worked in an ad agency. Stealing ideas is a definite, big time, no-no in the creative world. No agency, no creative director, no company wants to be known for stealing somebody else´s ad ideas.

  2. “Advertising agencies pride themselves on recycling ideas. It’s one of the basic tools of the business.”


    If this was the other way around (Lugz copying Apple) MDN would be all over it. Give me a break.

  3. I like the ad. I think its different becasue it showed eminem. I commend Steve for having the guts to get someone like eminem who tried to sue apple before. It just shows good intentions on apple’s part. So while the video maybe somewhat a copy. The underlying idea which is a boon to apple is that it can work out its differences with people and still show that eventhough artists try to sue them .. they are still willing to bridge the gap and that they are still about the music.

    I am not a fan of itunes.. anyone reading my previous posts can probably agree with that but I give credit where its due.

    Copy or not the Ad “just works” (they way Apple wanted it to) to show that apple is still about the music despite of differences.

    Music Label Executive – ANON

  4. Disclaimer: MDN is owned and operated by a secret slush fund from the Apple marketing dept. They are forbidden to criticize Apple in any way. Everyone else is wrong, Apple and Stevego are always right.

    Please remember how we at MDN were screaming when some companies were trying to use the design of the iPod and using the silouhette figures from the iPod ads in other companies promotions. We are hypocrites at MDN, but forgive us for we are blinded by the light given off by the Steve, our savior.

  5. The truth be known, it was probably Steve that ordered the ad agency to steal the idea from the Lugz people….
    Steve´s finger is in every ad design decision—-that´s why Apple advertising so usually sucks. (Anybody ever remember a good Apple computer ad in the last 5+ years???)

  6. First of all, this is just the evolution of the silhouette ad anyway, with some added graphics. Similarities in the creative world happen all the time because despite what some people think, creative work is a process, not just a bunch of people sitting in a room executing an idea based on their whim or what dream they had the night before.

    Sometimes creative teams from different firms may have the same thought process guided by the client’s needs.

    Even having said that, who the hell is Lugz anyway, and how many people actually saw the commercial in question?

  7. dear jane nose.

    Apple’s ad work.
    I used to work at an Apple retail store and let me tell you, the number of people talking about Apple’s commercials surprised even me.
    The sales are up, the mindshare is way up. The ads work whether you like them or not.

  8. I saw the ad and there are very different and the only thing similar is the color palette, the “other”ad uses cheap animation and uses the bullet time rotation device of the Martrix movies. the annoying grafitti tagging that squirms through out is the only original aspect of the video so if we must speak or originality or things borrowed lets look at what they have borrowed as well. the fine polished graphics of the lugz video contrasts with the eminem graphics that are blurry,jagged and out-of focus also the effect of over-sprayed or over-splattered paint is utilized, and what hip-hop video does not include walls with grafitti? its part of that culture and not an original motif by anyone.

  9. Come on MDN – can’t you be objective about this? Admit that it looks remarkably similar and is probably a mis-step by Apple. I’m as big an Apple fan as the next reader, but coming out and basically saying “everybody recycles, no biggie” sounds hypocritical…

  10. Folks, there is nothing similar about the two ads. The previous ad is a completely computer-generated & uninspiring advertisement. The new ad is a REAL silhouette of Eminem, turned into 3-D. Apple’s ad is truly groundbreaking.

  11. <sarcasm>Yes, MDN are never critical of Apple. Like this example from about a week ago.</sarcasm>

    Apple doesn’t research every ad ever made. TBWA is responsible for presenting original work to Apple. They obviously told Apple they’d been working on it for years (ever since they saw the Lugz ad).

    MDN is right. Apple is blameless here. TBWA should face the music.

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