Having tracked plagiarism in music since the late 90s (my website on music plagiarism is still on, though defunct, and I did a 42-weeks series on the topic for Filmcompanion, called Carbon Copy), I have always been interested—and fascinated by similarity of ideas in all forms of art. Hence, this latest instance of ‘similarity’ between advertisements is absolutely fascinating!
Here’s the Middle Eastern Telecom company Zain’s campaign from April 2019, for educating parents about online predators and dangers to young children online. The campaign was conceived by Wunderman Thompson, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The core idea is interesting, though it seemed very beside-the-point to me.
The video explains it as ‘using emojis to create the faces that child predators don’t want Children to see and hence hide behind cute emojis’, while the print campaign’s accompanying text says, ‘using emojis to create the faces that Zain cannot legally show (of convicted child predators)’.
Crux: About child predators online. Uses emojis to create faces.
Let’s head to another part of the world – Australia!
In June 2019, the Australian agency Marmalade created a campaign for its client, Alnnah & Madeline Foundation for their product, eSmart, an anti-cyberbullying program that is sold to schools, libraries and parents. The campaign uses emojis to create faces of children, burdened/affected by cyberbullying!
Crux: About online bullies (to protect children). Uses emojis to create faces.
Considering the closeness of the time periods (April and June) and knowing how long usually it takes from design to approval to production and release, I wouldn’t jump to allege plagiarism at all. But I couldn’t help being very surprised at the core idea, with so many commonalities, being used in 2 parts of the world!
Next, coffee time!
Here’s the May 2019 print campaign by the Ecuador-based coffee company, Solubles Instantaneos Compania Anonima (SICA), made by Raro Lab, based out of Guayaquil, Ecuador. It’s an interesting visual idea that registers immediately.
Crux: The effect of coffee depicted like a bolt of light (torchlight) emanating out of a coffee mug, in a dark place.
From Central American, we go down further, into South America. To Argentina, in specific. This outdoor campaign, from June 2019, is for McDonald’s McCafe by the agency DDB, Buenos Aires.
Crux: The effect of coffee depicted like a bolt of light (torchlight) emanating out of a coffee mug, in a dark place!
Again, consider the campaign periods! May vs. June. Way too close to allege anything. But again, zapped by the similarities – product and creative visual idea!
I’d categorize both under ‘Coincidence’. And the world of coincidences is utterly fascinating!