Does it matter if an ad’s not original?

This, I know, is heresy.

But I wonder if it’s such a bad thing if an ad is not entirely original?  

The debate that got me thinking about it was the video we featured of Three Drunk Monkeys’ work for Foxtel.

It features the marvellous new over-the-top family festival of EOFYS (end of financial year sale).

It’s a great ad. It immediately made me think of the bogus holiday in Seinfeld, Festivus, which included the “airing of the grievances”. And even Frasier Crane Day in Frasier. Not that I thought they’d nicked it from that, just another example of manufactured festivals.

Then came one poster who claimed it was an idea borrowed from here:

And another who thought it came from here:


Now clearly they couldn’t be both right, and there was of course the much more likely possibility that all three came to the same, funny idea independently.

But actually, I wonder if that’s missing the point anyway.

Isn’t an agency’s job to come up with the most effective ad for a client? If an idea’s run in another market, why on earth would the client or consumer care?

There is an argument that says the first duty of an agency when the D&AD Annual arrives is to flick through and see what can be adapted for the local market – particularly if it’s better than what they’ve come up with.

After all, how is that any different to a TV company putting a new twist to a format or genre that’s a hit on another channel or in another country?

Clearly the copycat cops would still need to be an patrol at awards, when people are seeking recognition for their originality.

I admit, by the way, to pointing out similarities between ads myself in the past.

But in the day-to-day, shouldn’t it be about using great ideas to shift units, not creating unique art?


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