June 26, 2018

  By Gonzalo López Martí - Creative director, etc / LMMiami.com

  • Do we really “create” in the ad business.
  • I think we don’t.
  • Advertising repurposes and reverse engineers tried & true cultural cues with a commercial purpose.
  • Forgive me for stating the obvious.
  • We are white gloved plagiarists.
  • To be sure, we might have grossly misled ourselves, our clients and our audiences when we defined ourselves as “creatives”.
  • Talk about hyperbole.
  • We are at best, curators of pop culture.
  • Recyclers.
  • We usurp what already exists and repurpose it to sell something.
  • We are opportunists.
  • Zeitgeist surfers.
  • Oddly enough, there’s an unwritten rule among advertising creatives: copying another ad campaign is considered off-limits.
  • That we regard as plagiarism.
  • But stealing shamelessly from movies, music or the art world?
  • Totally kosher!
  • Let’s not be so hard on ourselves.
  • There are lots of art forms out there with little regard for originality too.
  • Bob Dylan was essentially a Woody Guthrie impersonator when he started his career in the folk scene.
  • The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin borrowed shamelessly from the blues guitar legends of the 30s, 40s and 50s.
  • The level of blatantly recognizable influences one can find in any given song by, say, Def Leppard or The Strokes is countless.
  • Hip-hop has taking self-reference and sampling to fetishistic levels.
  • Reggaetón is as cookie cutter as it gets.
  • Hollywood demigod John Williams, composer of the Star Wars soundtrack and several other box office juggernauts, was always absolutely candid about the fact that he was very heavily influenced by the Austrian composer & conductor Gustav Mahler (would’ve been foolish of him to deny it since anyone with basic knowledge of classic music notices this on the spot).
  • Speaking of which, George Lucas admits that early in his career he was obsessed over Japanese director Akira Kurosawa’s camerawork and plot treatments, which is patent in some of Lucas’s movies almost to the frame.
  • Which begs for the question: who might’ve Kurosawa taken inspiration from?
  • And Quentin Tarantino?
  • The most plagiarized plagiarist in recent Hollywood history.
  • I think we can agree that every RomCom seems to tell the same story only with different actors.
  • Every TV talk show is a rip off to some extent.
  • Every Reality TV show is a rip off in one way or another.
  • Science fiction takes self reference to laughable levels.
  • Horror movies?
  • Well.
  • Documentaries: the voice over, the reenactments.
  • It is more than respecting the rules of a genre or staying with boundaries of familiarity.
  • It’s outright déjà vu.
  • Pablo Picasso, arguably the greatest painter of the 20th century, “created” the multifaceted yet somehow tribal cubist style that would make him rich and famous when he visited an exhibit of African ritual masks in 1907 at the Paris Ethnographic Museum in the Palace of the Trocadéro.
  • Google it.
  • The resemblance is more than uncanny.
  • If you are a bleeding heart liberal you’ll be incensed at the level of brazen colonialist cultural appropriation.
  • If you are a callous conservative you’ll claim that, thanks to Picasso and his art world commercial instincts, an unknown form of tribal art was able to leave its mark in the Western world.   




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