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Earn­ing top hon­ours in our Copy­cat sec­tion this month is a TVC that clearly demon­strates cre­ative in­ge­nu­ity that is, be­yond the shadow of a doubt, a bla­tant rip-off ex­e­cuted beau­ti­fully.

The work in ques­tion was re­quested by Tu­nisie telecom en­ti­tled 'For­fait 3ayelti' and was launched in June 2015 to pro­mote a fam­ily cell­phone cus­tomi­sa­tion plan in a 67-sec­ond TVC that lit­er­ally mim­icked the con­cept, idea, for­mat and the en­tire set-up (the Doll­house set).

Bet­ter still, this TVC pro­motes a brand be­long­ing to the same cat­e­gory as the orig­i­nal, which was com­mis­sioned by Le­banon’s com­mu­ni­ca­tion cell­phone op­er­a­tor Touch en­ti­tled ‘My Plan’ and ex­e­cuted by JWT Beirut in 2012.

If one were to ar­gue that this is pure co­in­ci­dence that would im­ply se­ri­ous ig­no­rance as the orig­i­nal -- the touch cam­paign--scooped sev­eral awards, four in fact at Dubai Lynx in the Film and Art Di­rec­tion cat­e­gories. If how­ever, the peo­ple re­spon­si­ble were to ad­mit prior knowl­edge of the work that would im­ply ma­li­cious in­tent and bla­tant dis­re­gard. Which­ever way one con­sid­ers the mat­ter, the truth paints a shame­ful pic­ture.

As for the orig­i­nal, and to be fair, the tech­nique used to shoot the en­tire TVC is sim­i­lar to many other works in­clud­ing some mu­sic videos. If any­thing, what is orig­i­nal are the vo­cals es­pe­cially cre­ated for the work by Le­banese trip-hop band Mashrou' Leila.

More­over, many in the ad industry, when the orig­i­nal com­mer­cial was broad­cast on TV said that it re­minded them of an­other spot for Zain telecom en­ti­tled ‘Car­rier Air Con­di­tion­ers', which hap­pens to be way too sim­i­lar, es­pe­cially the end­ing.

Gen­er­ally, and al­though an idea can­not be copy­righted, it goes with­out say­ing that one can­not copy a film frame for frame, es­pe­cially when both are two telecom brands, and then sell the work to the client as an orig­i­nal idea. That re­ally is tak­ing mat­ters one step too far.

Iron­i­cally, while the num­ber of In­ter­net de­tec­tives who take spe­cial in­ter­est in such mat­ters is grow­ing, so is the num­ber of copy­cat in­ci­dents. Sadly, some mar­keters have a less lais­sez-faire at­ti­tude about sim­i­lar­i­ties in cam­paigns.

C'est domage!

‘My Plan’ Touch by JWT - Beirut 2012

For­fait 3ayelti' - Tu­nisie Telecom - June 2015

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