28 Jan 2005
Penguins, Transformers, Stickmen, and Frogs
Advertising agencies often walk a fine line between drawing inspiration and blatantly plagiarising, and offline media companies in general have recently been mining a rich seam of inspiration from the web.
In some cases the original talent has been hired: Joel Veitch by Maestro and Quiznos, and Jonti Picking for Anchor ads. Other commercials have more tenuous links to previous material: the Citroen C4 dancing Transformer looks like a superb combination of the classic transforming Beetle and breakdancing Transformers animations. One got caught out: Nike had to cough up for their stickman ads’ similarity to the wonderful Xiao Xiao series.
Many of us in the UK have been unable to avoid repeated exposure to the brain-rotting Jamster Crazy Frog ringtone ads on TV and online (luckily I’ve not heard it from a ’phone yet). The once-mildly-amusing sound’s been around on the web for years (included in stuff like The Insanity Test) and I cynically assumed it was a rip-off, but no, the original ‘vocal artist’ is getting paid (and taking the blame), as is the frog’s creator. However annoying the ads, I have to applaud Jamster for doing the right thing. Damn.
Original web material’s a lot more widely seen/heard nowadays (an online ‘hit’ can get several million visitors in a few months), so hopefully offline derivatives will become riskier and raw creativity’ll be rewarded (even for stupid ringtones).
(PS: weblog updates will continue to be sparse for a while, I’m busy working on free software for podcasters)