Opinion

20 copycat ads

It’s amazing how often crowd sourcing takes just minutes to turn an ad that looks startingly creative at first glance into something, erm, less original. Sometimes it’s coincidence, sometimes the inspiration may have seeped into a creative’s subconscious. And sometimes it looks like a smash-and-grab raid. Here, we offer Mumbrella top 20 copycat Australasian ads.

1. Jetstar versus Estrella Damm beer

The Jetstar ad has just started airing in Australia. It marks a new creative direction for the budget airline. It’s a creative direction already taken by a beer brand – including the same song, burning furniture, boat trip and love story. The centrepiece of a wider campaign, the airline tells Mumbrella it sought the blessing of the 0verseas agency before creating the “homage”.

The original:

The copycat:

2. Optus “open network” versus Sprint “now network”

You’ve got to love stats. Optus does. Particularly when talking up its network – much like Sprint.

The original:

The copycat:

3. Optus versus Comcast

Another US telco, and another Optus coincidence.

The original:

The copycat:

4. Target versus Oren Lavie

If it’s art (or a music video in this case) is it fair game? Target seems to think so.

The original:

The copycat:

5. Kellogg’s All Bran versus The Simpsons

In a similar vein, it’s pretty obvious where the idea for the Kellogg’s All Bran ad came from.

The original:

The copycat:

6. ME Bank versus Tango and British Airways

If an ad is accused of copying more than one other ad, is it a genuine copycat? It would take a pretty mad scientist to attempt to crossbreed two classic British ads of very different genres. But the similarity is startling…

The originals:

The copycat

7. There’s Nothing Like Australia versus The Discovery Channel versus Mickey Mouse:

And here’s another example of an ad that got accused of feeling like more than one thing. Actually, we think this one was coincidence. But we present the evidence nonetheless. You decide.

The original:

The original:

The copycat:

8. Nine Network versus The Discovery Channel

And Discovery Channel should feel flattered. It has more than one imitator. Or in Nine’s case, utterly shameless rip-off merchant.

The original:

The copycat:

9. Nine Network versus Nickelodeon

And Nine’s promo team appear to be either serial offenders, or the victims of unfortunate coincidences, as the spot for The Block looked pretty familiar too.

The original:

The copycat:

10. Seven Network versus DDB France

Nine, aren’t the only offenders. Perhaps because they were asked to produce about a million promos ahead of the X Factor launch, not every one from Seven’s promo team looked entirely fresh.

The original:

The copycat:

11. Dunlop Volley versus The Weak Shop:

A wacky spoof campaign for Dunlop Volley shoes sure looked like it had started life elsewhere.

The original:

The copycat

12. TV3 NZ versus Playstation 3 (Hat-tip: Bannerblog)

TV3 was perhaps lucky that Playstation had a sense of humour about this one. One word: plagiarism.

The original:

The copycat:

13. Paul’s Milk versus Water Magic

You name the product and there’s probably a copycat ad. Even water copying milk.

The original:

The copycat:

14. Australia Post versus i-Ball (Hat-tip: Kapil’s Corner)

And it’s not just TV ads that inspire copying. Australia Post’s powerful branding has its imitators too.

The original:

Australia post arms

The copycat:

i ball arms15. Visa versus Hula Hoops:

A few years ago, few enough people had a copy of the D&AD Annual in Australia that people probably wouldn’t notice a spot of borrowing. Now the internet’s here though.

The original:

The copycat:

16. Grazia versus Australia’s Next Top Model

Models? Check. A racecourse? Check. A photo finish? Just don’t ask Sarah Murdoch to declare the winner

The original:

The copycat:

17. Meat & Livestock Australia versus a birthday card

Sometimes the oldies aren’t goldies, as this radio ad demonstrates.

The original:

Birthday_card

The copycat radio ad:

[powerpress url=http://mumbrella-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2010/02/MeatLivestock-radio.mp3]

18. Suzuki Alto versus Trainspotting

Choose unoriginal copywriting for a bland car that’s the opposite of the message of the movie.

The original:

The copycat:

19. MV Beer versus Truth (Upside Down)

When a McLaren Vale brewer looks at classic Argentinian political ads this is the result.

The original:

The copycat:

20. Lipton Ice tea versus Fatboy Slim (Hat-tip: @MarkScruby)

Can Hugh Jackman outdance Christopher Walken? Let’s hope so, because it’s the only distraction from this remarkably similar ad to the video for Weapon Of Choice. They even have a similar taste in luggage trolleys. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and call it a “tribute”.

The original:

The copycat:

Can you think of any we missed?

Add the links to the comment thread, and we’ll update the list.

Tim Burrowes

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