Lugz sends Apple cease-and-desist letter over Eminem iPod+iTunes TV commercial

“Lugz footwear said it has sent a cease-and-desist letter to both Apple Computer and its agency, Omnicom Group’s TBWA/Chiat/Day, over similarities between a commercial ‘Arrow,’ which the company aired in 2002, and a spot with Eminem that launched earlier this month for Apple’s iPod and iTunes,” Catharine P. Taylor reports for AdWeek. “Larry Schwartz, evp and a principal of New York-based JSSI, which makes Lugz, said in a statement, ‘If you look at these spots, common sense would tell you that there’s a problem here. The Apple commercial uses the most powerful elements of our campaign, making the ads disturbingly similar. We are prepared to vigorously pursue all legal remedies in order to protect our rights.'”

Full article here.

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The free publicity train continues to roll on for, and generated by, Lugz.

Related articles:
Lugz boots ad agency ‘very upset’ about Apple’s iPod+iTunes eminem ad – October 25, 2005
Apple takes heat for Eminem iPod+iTunes ad’s similarity to 4-year-old Lugz spot – October 20, 2005 (LINK TO QUICKTIME MOVIE OF LUGZ COMMERCIAL)
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. Good point about the switch ads. Didn’t buymusic have exact duplicates of iTunes ads a few years ago….

    I think all successful ad campaigns are copied by other companies. Remember the Blind taste test ad’s from coke and pepsi.

  2. it’s not an exact copy, but i’ve seen both videos and the resemblance is really strong. i think Lugz is doing the right thing, though they’re not selling competing products so the damage is rather minimal. plus the Lugz ad hasn’t aired in a while AFAIK.

    (and personally, i like the graininess and paint splotches in the Apple ad.)

  3. It’s mainly the orange cityscape background that makes it similar. The silhouette figures are something they’ve been using in their iPod commercials for a couple years now. There are definitely similarities though.

    I bet heads are rolling at Chiat/Day.

  4. The ads are embarrisingly similar, but if the Apple ad were to use a different primary colour, would Lugz feel the same way? Isn’t the Lugz ad already borrowing from the original silhuette Apple ads? I don’t think Lugz has a legal leg to stand one, but hey, what do I know?

    Personally, I find there is something about the editing of the Apple ad that I find is off. The Lugz ad is a far better one in my opinion, and after watching it’s clean editing and transitions, I find the Eminem spot to be very zittery and poorly cut. I think it has mostly to do with the audio editing and trying to get everything into a 30 second spot. It feels way too “cramped”.

  5. Hm… This does look awfully similar… But for 1 i must say that the idea is essentially different… I fully agree with ndelc about the color. If apple were to, say, change the color, im sure it wouldnt look all that similar then.

    I must say that apple did take it in a different direction as it did deal with the music and art, as theirs was about shoes… >.<

    And didnt steve said theyd been workin on this for a while? How long? maybe its possible theyve been working on it long enuf where it was started BEFORE the lugz comercial was released.. maybe?

  6. Bring on the controversy. Bring on the PR battle. It only serves to bring more free advertising to Apple and probably some notoriety for Lugz too. They can slap the ground and act like Apple is picking on them or stealing their thunder. “They stole our idea for an orange city scape background”. And?

    Their original tv ad must not have worked too well. Lugz does what?

  7. “Name one original idea.” The automobile, the gun, bow and arrow….pretty much everything was an original idea at some point. From Apple’s dictionary on original: “used or produced at the creation or earliest stage of something.” Everyt idea was original at the time when it was the first idea. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    As for these commercials, they are remarkably similar. If I glanced at it for a second, I could get them messed up, but if I watched for more than a couple seconds, I would know which commercial I was watching – the emphasis is definitely on shoes in one and music in the other. If Apple can sue over iMac look-alikes, then this is probably similar. But, I guess the courts will have to figure it out….

  8. ‘If you look at these spots, common sense would tell you that there’s a problem here.”

    Hmm. The current Eminem ad is without question for the iPod, and nobody remembers the Lugz campaign from three years ago. Did anyone even notice?

    Case closed.

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