Saturday, August 12, 2006


A note from Steve McCabe, CD of Y&R, Auckland, regarding their AXIS winning Nokia 'Backgrounds' campaign, that hopefully clears the agency of plagiarism:

I trust you’re very familiar with our Nokia Video video calling campaign and the fact that the idea was supposedly done in Toronto a few years back. Well, Tony and I have been very suspicious of that work since it was first posted on the NZ and CB blogs. So, we’ve been trying to find out the truth behind it.
Looking at the layout of the ad (pictured), it is not done to Nokia guidelines. They have omitted the handset number (like 6680) which every Nokia ad worldwide has.
A few international juries have awarded our campaign. The North American One Show (merit), Cannes (silver) with a North American on the jury. They certainly would not have, if they’d seen the idea before.
A closer look at the PDF suggests it was only a rough mock up and not real (look at the attachment and the low res pack shot).
Finally I managed to get hold of Joe Amaral, CD of TBWA Toronto. He wasn’t at the agency when they had Nokia as a client, but was very helpful in trying to find out the truth behind the ad.
After a bit of asking around, he eventually came back with this official line “the ads never ran in paid conventional media”.
It seems clear that the TBWA Toronto campaign never ran. Which surely makes accusations of plagiarism redundant. We’d be grateful if you could clear our names, especially with AWARD judging coming up.
If someone has decided to try and hijack a campaign knowing full well it could not be a copy and is not a copy, it is very depressing indeed. I have heard rumours about who did it on this occasion and that they are angry because some of their work was kicked out of Axis (Because the idea had been done before.) Our Nokia video call backgrounds first ran back in October and have had much publicity since then. Interesting how it took until after the Axis judging for the Canadian work to come to the fore.
We all strive to be original, different and to do the best work we can. But there’s always a good chance that someone, somewhere in the world had the same idea as you. And if the work has been in awards annuals, maybe we should be aware of the idea. Surely we should save allegations of copying ideas for ads that have actually been produced. We can’t be expected to have seen every Canadian’s book of ads that never ran.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

TBWA/Toronto did enter the ad in Cannes in 2004. It's on the Cannes archive website. I think they just unintentionally busted themselves for entering ads that haven't run. Whoops. How many more ads like this are out there? Thousands every year I reckon.

But did you guys rip it off? No, I don't think so and I really don't think anyone else thinks so, except one bitter person. Who in their right mind would rip an ad off intentionally? It's just stupid, vindictive New Zealand bollocks.

I wouldn't worry about AWARD. The jury is the real deal there. They won't judge the ads based on the NZ blog.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the NZ advertising industry really so sure it wants to shine a spotlight on ads that didn't run in 'conventional, paid media'?

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if we've learned anything from the Big Ad it's that a little dash of borrowing from Canadian ads never really hurt anyone's chances at award shows....but next time skip the TBWA and look straight to Taxi

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You gotta love Lynchy's headline. Those nasty Canadians have produced a scam. Of course Australians would never do such a thing. It would be called an 'initiative' or some such twaddle.

I've not notseen either campaign, but I can't see how the scamminess or otherwise of the Canuck stuff makes any difference to claims of plagiarism.

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simple fact is the idea has been done before. You've been caught out. But I do admire Mr McCabes effort. A very creative story indeed. A very sad attempt at award gathering if ever I've seen one. I suggest he put more effort into writing a lot more work rather than defending something which has been done before.


Keeping It Real x

6:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really.....should have left sleeping dogs lie.....

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a load of bollocks. You knocked it off from a mate.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh McCabe, you sound even more guilty now.

Let it go my friend.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If we've learned anything from the Big Ad it's that a little dash of borrowing from Canadian ads never really hurt anyone's chances at award shows..."

Huh? The ad is a PARODY. And if it "borrowed" anything, it was from a British, British Airways ad.

You may be confused with the Fosters ad that plagiarised a Canadian beer ad. (Molsons, from memory.) But that troubled few juries at any of the award shows.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

everything has been done before. just look at all the cannes ads that keep winning year after year with the same idea but just look better. it's fun.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the parody part of the execution is all BA, the guys in robes singing the exact same song is all Taxi's Rickards Red ad, also for Molson.

Suggest you have a look at Taxi's site under TV.

At any rate this brings up another point for Steve moving forward: plagarizing from one source - bad, "borrowing" from several sources - much harder to track down.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So anything that has been done in a students book is seen as being real now 6:02AM?

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's certainly not OK to rip it off, if that's where you're coming from, 10:41AM.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you're stealing off students now 10:41!


Keep it Real x

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Big Ad was shot before the Canadian Ad aired, so any similarity is a coincidence.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bloody big coincidence...

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:52, how do you know that? prove it.

wow, so similar its scary...

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another Canadian coincidence.
Go to

Now have a look at this spot for bubblicious. It's got the same tagline as the recent Starburst work from Clems. And the whole idea of a colourful explosion rolls right along with the core idea. Coincidence or copycat - you be the judge.

p.s they do have a ripper of a website at

p.p.s Anyone feel like dropping agency names that could possibly be hiring Melbourne juniors in the next six months?

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

birdie, birdie num num

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Try speaking to the following people at these Melbourne agencies:

Yannick Noah (Leo Burnetts)
Stefan Edberg (TBWA)
Miloslav Mecir (Clemenger)
Patrick Cash (M&C Saatchi)
Brad Gilbert (FCB)
Mats Wilander (Spinach)
Michael Chang (Cummins and Partners)

All these agencies are getting busier and busier, and are looking for new blood. Good luck.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Yes. The idea had been done and seen. I don't care if you "really came up with it in the shower" - it's old man.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

12.10pm, you forgot a few...

Martina Navratilova (DDB)
Anna Kournikova (Campaign Palace)
Martina Hingis (Smart)
Amélie Mauresmo (Publicis Mojo)

5:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martina left DDB Melbourne a while ago.

And I already thought of whatever the next commenter writes. Twice.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martina Hingis has moved to Clems, joint CD.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys, while we're name dropping, my tennis game has hit something of a plateau. Anyone know the name of a good coach who could help me out?

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't really read the texts. btw, does anyone know how I can actually get onto the proper CampaignBrief.Com's website rather than the blog?

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:13PM, I have terrible news for you. This is the proper website.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oi! 9.22 am. Don't hijack my segway. That wank you're writing will give you tennis elbow.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oi! 9.22 am. Don't hijack my segway. That wank you're writing will give you tennis elbow."

Mate, you've got the pronounciation right. But it's spelled "segue". Unless you're talking about those crazy one-man transport machines.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a crazy one man transport device. But it's actually spelt "pronunciation". Unless you're talking about a pronoun. Being the part of speech that substitutes for nouns or noun phrases and designates persons or things asked for, previously specified, or understood from the context.
Touche mon ami.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's touché, with a little accent thingy, mon frère.

5:25 PM  

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