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Motilal Oswal’s new ad draws a sharp response from MullenLowe Lintas Group chief Amer Jaleel

It is the client's property and can be used for a campaign created in-house responds the former ED and marketing head of MOFS.

Who owns the idea? is at the centre of a storm brewing between Motilal Oswal Financial Services and MullenLowe Lintas Group, an advertising network giant.

Amer Jaleel, Group CCO and chairman, took to LinkedIn to rue the “blatant and brazen copy of one’s creative mehnat” and the lack of intellectual property cover for agencies. 

A new ad from Motilal Oswal (above) is a replica of an ad MullenLowe made (below) for the financial services firm in 2017. 

“It’s common these days to take the most valuable output of the agency, ‘the brand idea’ and move on. Get the exact same campaign done ‘outside’. No shame. No guilt. No ethics,” wrote Jaleel. 

He also referenced the poor post-pitch fees clients pay to agencies “saying “you’ll grow with us”. And not just forget that promise but take the idea and fire the agency!”

The post generated a flurry of comments, many from adland, but one of them was from Ramnik Chhabra, Motilal Oswal’s former executive director and head of marketing; he quit in June 2022 but held the post when MullenLowe made the ad. 

"Acknowledge that while the original idea has come from the agency ; it has been built by us together. Also assumed that since we have compensated the agency for the idea over previous campaigns; it is the clients property and can be used for a campaign created in-house," wrote Chhabra

“No external creative agency was used. We created script/situations, and a freelance production house added some more & executed the film,” he clarified about the 2022 ad. 

Adding to this, he revealed the 2017 campaign from MullenLowe was executed on a project basis and that the agency was assured of more work basis the output of the campaign. “The campaign was quite successful and we went on to work on 7 projects together; last being in Jan 2022.”

This issue once again brings to light a simple question: Does the agency give away an idea’s ownership once the client pays it for its services? 

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