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When it comes to advertising, we often feel we are in the third world": Manish Bhatt, Scarecrow

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | September 08, 2017
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The adman feels Publicis Milan's recent ad for Diesel is similar to his 2016 campaign for Spykar.

In 2016, apparel brand Spykar said 'Flaunt your flaws' in a print-outdoor-digital and in-store campaign created by Scarecrow Communications. Manish Bhatt, founder-director, Scarecrow, claims Publicis Italy's spunky new ad film titled 'Go with the flaw' for clothing brand Diesel resembles his Spykar posters.

We spoke to him about this. Among other things, we asked him: You say the Diesel ad is a copy of your Spykar campaign. But one may argue that this whole 'embrace your flaws' angle is a revolution today. So maybe this is a coincidence? After all, denim is the flag-bearer of rebellion. What would you say to people who say - except for the 'flaw' angle, the two campaigns are not that similar?

Over to Manish. Edited Excerpts.

"When I saw the Diesel campaign on social media yesterday, I found it similar to our Spring Summer'16 campaign for Spykar. But my view could be subjective. Hence I shared both campaigns with my friends and fraternity along with a thought-provoking question so that they could judge it. I got mixed responses.

Now, to say that between Spring Summer 2016 and now, someone from my creative team who was part of the Spykar campaign went and showed his/her folio to an Italian agency where the Diesel campaign has been conceived, is as abstract and far-fetched as Omkardas Manikpuri of Peepli Live going to Italy and auditioning for Coppola's next sequel of The Godfather.

So, 'copy or coincidence' is a hypothesis, of which I am not the judge. Let the fraternity decide that.

...there are broad emotional spaces which many brands occupy, for example, happiness is what Coke stands but we have seen brands like McDonald's and Vadilal ice cream expressing happiness as their brand thought.

It is the duty of every creative agency to give 100 per cent original creative work to its brands. But everyone knows how difficult is to be consistent on this aspect.

Inspiration should come from art-forms other than your own field, be it cinema, sculptures or dance... and life around you. Getting inspired by masterpieces in, and masters of, your own field is also essential but imitating the work of others from your own field is a shortcut and complete no-no. But yes, the line is often thin and is hence being crossed often.

Recently, we used the background score of 'Love To Love You Baby' (Giorgio Moroder Feat. Chris Cox Remix) - Donna Summer for an AV for Spykar Blue Film Festival.... we used it as award entry material. To send the link for the jury to judge, we uploaded it on YouYube. And we immediately received a notice from Universal Music to remove their track from the AV.

Now, can you imagine a scenario where ASCI or Ad Club or AAAI or any Indian agency sends a notice to a European agency to withdraw a campaign which is similar to an Indian campaign? This won't happen for many reasons. One, Sahishnuta (tolerance) is in our culture. We don't offend others easily. Also, IP laws in the advertising industry are non-existent.

I read somewhere recently that in the western world, they copyright even buildings, for example, if you click a selfie with the Empire State Building and use it commercially, they may send you a notice to pay them a license fee of the usage.

Our advertising industry is not united. Offending European or western agencies might backfire on us because the holding companies of many Indian agencies are headquartered there... they're either part of the Western network, or are thinking of being part of it...

When it comes to advertising, we often feel we are in the third world."

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