Thursday, October 11, 2007

Natalie Knows...

How I feel right now...yes, I'm torn.

Last night when catching up on some industry porn at Agency Spy, I made it to a post entitled, The Best Ad We've Seen In Forever. That piqued my interest. Here it is:



My reaction was a mix of "Awesome-I've seen this before-Love that Toyota didn't have to tag it-I've seen this before somewhere else not just Nessy spot-Leeroooyyy Jeeennnkins-Awesome." Yes, I immediately made the connection to this YouTube classic and the comments showed that I wasn't the only one. But unlike me, they didn't say awesome; they called it a "complete rip-off."

Between this and the recent rip-off claims against Sony Bravia's Bunnies, I have had to take a step back and figure out what I believe in the space of creativity. I don't think there's no such thing as an original idea solves it, and I don't thinking going back to Kindergarten rules (it's simple, don't steal!) adds anything to the debate. Nor does it help me understand why I'm annoyed at Sony and not Toyota. In my mind, both are equally obvious in their connection to the original.

Note: I'm not saying blatant in copying but obvious in where they drew inspiration. Thus, I'm basing my case mostly to the source of inspiration and the rights each source has to what they have to what they've created (in other words, this isn't 'Nam there are rules).

In Sony's case it's artists (Kozyndan) who makes their living creating art and has rights to it whereas in Toyota's case it's a gamer (Ben Schulz) who recorded some silliness and put it up on YouTube.

However, what I'm realizing as I'm writing is that I'm actually reacting to lying. I don't really give a shit about the line between being inspired by and stealing. I just don't believe them (Sony/Fallon/Passion Pictures). If they'd come out and say "we're created something that drew inspiration from a variety of sources, one of which is Kozy and Dan just like Kozyndan is inspired by things (Hokusai) created by others," I'd have more respect for them. If Toyota is asked about their new spot above and claim originality, I will be equally as angry.

Ultimately, I think both companies/agencies should be honest and involve inspirer's from the get-go. If Toyota had reached out to Ben, involved him in the process—creating more, new, better, deeper content as well as links to his viral video—and compensated him fairly for it, they would see a greater ROI for it.

Guess I'm not so torn anymore...just waiting for Toyota to not to lie.

1 comment:

Jake said...

Let me preface my statement by saying that I possess what can be described as a limited understanding of the advertising world, and by limited I mean zero. That being said, I have a few questions regarding intellectual property in advertising/entertainment that might help me understand this better. Perhaps in getting the answers I might find myself equally outraged. It is clear from both ads where there inspiration is derived. Is there a legal obligation for them "give props", be they monetary or otherwise, to the creators of the work? When advertisors use the Mona Lisa or American Gothic to sell something are they required to reach some kind of licensing agreement?

How does this impact a guy like Weird Al (a fan favorite at this blog)? I seem to remember Coolio being furious about Amish Paradise when it came out, which is hilarious in and of itself seeing how Coolio sampled Stevie Wonder's "Pasttime Paradise". It certainly didn't stop you or anyone with a sense of humor from enjoying the song. Is this different because he parodied the original song? Essentially he was piggy backing on a popular idea both with the beat and content. Is this any different than the Toyota ad or the Sony ad? They seemed to take something that struck a chord with a group of people and fashioned it for their own ends.

Isn't imitation the most sincere form of flattery?