Whose idea is it anyway?

Posted on: November 20th, 2008

There’s a scene in Zoolander when Mugatu says “Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigre? They’re all the same face!  Doesn’t anybody notice this?  I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

Crazy pills indeed.  We recently lost a pitch because another agency came up with an idea that was like nothing the client had seen or hear of before.

When you lose an account for that kind of reason you think “well, fair play to them.” I appreciate the value of a great idea and I respect it when an agency nails a brief with something unique.

The problem is that the idea was like something we had seen and heard of quite recently in the press.  It had already been done by a couple of other brands and funnily enough by our own GM about a decade ago (but they were not to know that).

Then today I stumbled upon this on PR Warrior.  Umm, great result but sorry Scrabble, hadn’t anyone heard about Extreme Ironing which has been around for aggeessss?  Or did they know but not really care because this was scrabble and not ironing?

Julian Cole covers off other examples brilliantly in this blog and more and more I’m hearing about agencies who, let’s say, ‘borrow’ ideas, repackage and flog them (I’m assuming) to unaware clients and eventually to the masses.

Is it just me or is this a bit wiffy? Or doesn’t it matter whose idea it is as long as you change it slightly and the campaign achieves results?

And what about the creative souls who post their awesome ideas on YouTube only to have them turned into award winning campaigns attributed to major agencies?

For me it’s about credibility.  Everyone is influenced by ideas and takes inspiration from what’s around them, but how about giving credit when it’s due?  If you develop an existing idea, pay whatever dues are necessary to the creator and ensure the client is aware of the source of the idea if it’s not an original.

But maybe I’m naive – or an idea purist – I don’t know…?

Posted by Renee Creer

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