Lugz boots ad agency ‘very upset’ about Apple’s iPod+iTunes eminem ad

“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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Related article:
Apple takes heat for Eminem iPod+iTunes ad’s similarity to 4-year-old Lugz spot – October 20, 2005
Apple’s Eminem iPod+iTunes ad airs on U.S. television networks – October 17, 2005
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52 Comments

  1. I’ve got competitors all the time copying and “modifying” work we’ve done. And then there’s everyone and his brother who thinks they’re a designer because they’ve laid-out a newsletter in Word — or better yet, MS Publisher. When they finally get to the printer, of course, they get a rude awakening when they’re told the files can’t be used.

    Everything’s a version of something that came before. This is a non-story.

  2. I can almost hear the Emperor’s voice now…

    “Yes, I can feel the anger growing inside you…slap a lawsuit upon me asking for a slice of iPod revenues and fullfil your destiny!”

    MDN word: science

  3. Has ANYBODY seen this Lugz ad they are talking about? For the life of me, I cannot understand what the agency can be upset about. Did their ad flop 3 years ago. If it did its job at the time, then move on.

  4. I gotta admit, the two ads are very, very similar. But as the saying goes, “there’s nothing new under the sun”, and as a music composition professor once told me, “we don’t live in a vacuum”, in other words, anyone who creates for a living is influenced by everything around them, consciously or subconsciously.

    There is very little “new” in advertising, especially commercial television. When I used to work in TV, some of the the salesmen used a website that had various scenarios for ads that were done all the way back to the 60s, and they would find the one they wanted and then tell us to reproduce it for their client.

    I’m disappointed in TBWA/Chiat/Day. I really doubt that no one there remembered the Lugz ad. Frankly, I wish Apple would find a new agency. For Lugz and the other ad agency, they are getting a healthy dose of free advertising, so they probably aren’t really mad. They just have to say that they are to take advantage of this.

  5. Okay, now I’ve gone to the agency’s web site and seen the Lugz ad. I see why they are upset. Apple’s ad is about 1000% more watchable. Seriously, yes, there are similarities, but the principal’s statement that “they are the same ad” is ludicris.

  6. Hey Whats inside,..I know that song! It’s from the Smiths!
    Try this one…
    If you must write prose and poems
    The word you use should be your own
    Don’t plagiarise or take on loan
    There’s always someone, somewhere
    With a big nose, who knows
    And trips you up and laughs
    When you fall
    And trips you up and laughs
    When you fall

    -Cemetry Gates-The Smiths.

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