24 10 / 2012
Cheating is bad.
Remember when your parents/teachers told you that cheating is wrong? And how important it was to study and pass on your own? Even though you’re not in highschool anymore - the lesson still rings true in advertising. Copying another agency’s work isn’t cool.
So why do some ad agencies do this? I’ve seen many examples of this in print and TV, but this is the first time I’ve heard it on radio.
I recently listened to a commercial about a couple who decides that they need to “see other sandwiches” because they’ve been spending too many Sundays seeing the same sandwich. At first, I thought it was a Subway Sub of the Day commercial. But then I heard that it was for a burger, not a sandwich. It turned out to be a Burger King Deal of the Day radio spot. And the campaign name isn’t the only similarity.
Both ideas are almost identical. They each replace the days of the week with sandwich names. (i.e “It’s Double Cheeseburger Day” and “Pick you up at eight on Subway Club day?”) These two campaigns are also running at the same time, in the same medium (presumably in the same area). Let’s not forget that both brands are in the fast food industry. So are these coincidences intentional or accidental?
There are so many questions swimming around in my head: Was it a situation where the client said “I like what Subway is doing, let’s do that?” Did the more daring ideas get tossed aside and a “safe” option was all that was left? Was the deadline too close? Or is the same agency handling both accounts?
What bothers me more is that the original idea isn’t great. It’s not bad (no offense to the agency responsible) but overall:
- It doesn’t make me want to go to Subway
- It doesn’t entice me to try something new
- It doesn’t make me remember the sub of the day
Although the Sub of the Day radio ads are memorable, it pains me to see that there is so much copied creative in this world. Even if you argue that nothing is original, at least make the effort to try something different.
Coming up with a unique solution is what we creatives get paid for. When you copy someone else’s work one of two things will happen: the outcome will be great or it will be lousy. Either way, you’ll never learn how to be great. And in my books, that’s a #fail.
Have you heard/seen two similar advertising campaigns? Comment below.