Apple is receiving a great deal of flattery in the form of imitation. BBDO borrowed the dancing shadow theme in a purely original way for a Cingular commercial for Motorola’s ROKR phone with iTunes capability.
Now an ancillary product, Scottevest, has spoofed the iPod commercial outright and currently has it posted on its Web site. The spoof begins with the now recognizable dancing silhouette, but when his gear drops from his pickets and he trips on his tangled headphone cord, he leaves to put on a Scottevest. When he returns, he sets all his gear in pockets of the vest and continues dancing, though to generic dance music and not licensed tunes like those used in Apple commercials.
In a company statement on the Scottevest site, company founder Scott Jordan is quoted saying, “Imitation is the best form of flattery. We are not competing with Apple, merely showing how our products work well together.” Currently posted only on the Scottevest site, Jordan said the company hasn’t decided what else to do with the spoof.
Flattery is one thing, but what Jordan and Scottevest miss here is that the spoof isn’t just ripping on Apple’s iPod commercials. It’s also taking away from the award-winning creative developed by TBWA/Chiat/Day. If this is only to be posted on the clothier’s Web site, fine, but if Scottevest uses the spot for an ad campaign on any medium, it’s piggybacking on the intellectual property of the agency’s creative. Is it still a spoof? Is it flattery? Or has it crossed the line into an attempt to capture the creativity of an agency like TBWA/Chiat/Day, but without the production cost of hiring an agency?
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