I keep getting deja-vu when watching TV. Not from the programs – although there are only so many times I can see a “Lets take this person and put them in a situation they don’t know or understand and look at the hilariously pathetic results” reality show before I stab up a branch of Morrison’s in a fit of rage. It’s in the ad breaks that im getting these flashes of deja-vu.
Advertising is an art – maybe its a morally devoid art – but it takes a certain level of skill to read the market, analyse how best consumers respond to your brand or product and create something that for the 4 seconds you have the attention of the consumer – entertains, informs and entices them into purchasing whatever crap you’re trying to shift that week. There have been some great adverts over the years that stand out and really hold their own as a mini piece of culture, take for example the Guinness advert with the horses riding out the waves, any of the recent Sony Bravia adverts or even the incredibly well produced Honda Rube Goldberg homage advert (below).
Of course there have been some absolutely terrible adverts that should never have seen the light of day like the DFS/Nickelback advert in which a bunch of cretins mouth along to “Rockstar” and dance around like handicapped swans, any of the Injury Lawyers 4 U adverts, Sheilas “bloody” Wheels or the Frosties advert (below) that was so sugary and irritating that it actually caused the child actor to receive a multitude of death threats.
But this article isn’t about terrible adverts – because even a bad advert can be so well crafted it demands some semblance of respect, The “We Buy Any Car” advert is meticulously crafted to be so annoying to the point where you cant get it out of your head. No, this is about marketing departments and advertising agencies so devoid of any creative individuality that they just fire up Youtube and rip off the highest rated videos and bastardize them to advertise their un-sellable product. Want some shameful examples? Well here we go…
Berocca vs OK GO
In 2006 OK GO made a unique music video for their single “Here It Goes Again” in which they choreographed a dance routine across a series of treadmills, it quickly spread around the internet and became a mini sensation. In 2008 Berocca ripped that off to advertise a multi-vitamin.
Sugar Puffs vs The Mighty Boosh
The geniuses at Sugar Puffs decided that for their latest advert just having the yellow nightmare that is the Honey Monster (which in turn is a complete rip of the Cookie Monster) just turn up and scream about honey to kids wasn’t enough, they thought the best thing to do was rip off The Mighty Boosh writers/actors and their comedy rapping style crimping. Crimping is just a random little way in which the characters of the Mighty Boosh converse and was introduced back in the first series of the Mighty Boosh in 2004. Clips of the show’s crimping moments appeared on Youtube and attracted millions of viewers. Sugar Puffs fired up their creative juices and dribbled out this advert…
T-Mobile vs Improv Everywhere
“Improv Everywhere” rose to fame with their infamous Flash Mob moment in Grand Central station in which they choreographed a mass freeze in the middle of the station. Hundreds of participants froze on the spot as perplexed onlookers wandered around them, unfreezing 60 seconds later to a round of applause. The video so far has gained over 22 million views on youtube and in 2008 made the group and their series of videos, famous. In 2009 T-Mobile decided to create a completely original advert where hundreds of people did some improv dancing – in a completely original location like, I don’t know, a train station. So, it’s not a 100% direct rip off, just a small evolution. But what completely original thing did they do to change the original? They had them dance instead. That’s fine you say? Well its not just any dance, most of the routine is parts of the Michael Jackson ‘Thriller’ dance. Large groups of people doing the thriller dance? Sounds just like the video of the Korean inmates mass ‘Thriller’ dance routine from 2007… T-Mobile, you disgust me.
Tango Vs Baptazia
Baptazia is a series of videos produced about a year ago that feature footage of American preachers and their congregation freaking out for Jesus. It’s all mashed up with audio from live drum & bass gigs, featuring the like of Andy C, Noisia, Skibadee, GQ etc. They’re insanely funny and I’m only a slight bit worried for the mental state of the people in them. In 2010 Tango decided that the best way to advertise the drink that people buy when the shop doesn’t have Fanta was to rip the videos off to create “Praiserama”…