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.
‘My Plan’ Touch by JWT - Beirut 2012
Forfait 3ayelti' - Tunisie Telecom - June 2015