Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Tell them about the plagiarism, Mummy!"

Honey monster, hang your furry, yellow, deformed head in shame. Go to your room. No Sugar Puffs for you tonight.

Have you seen the shameful new advert for the world's most sticky cereal? It has the Honey Monster and some bloke sat in a kitchen crimping. And by crimping I don't mean making each other's hair all crinkly with heated tongs or products. No, I mean Crimping - that curious, brilliant, hilarious form of strange rhythmic poetry invented by Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding for The Mighty Boosh. It's a signature trade mark of their on-screen personas (Howard Moon and Vince Noir) and an essential and idiosyncratic part of what makes The Boosh so different from other shows. It's as unique and personal as John Cleese's funny walks, Ricky Gervais's bonkers David Brent dance routine or Vicky Pollard's 'Yer but no but'. For Honey Monster Foods and their ad agency to have ripped The Boosh off is lazy and insulting. I hope Barratt and Fielding sue, I really do. This sort of thing just shouldn't be allowed to happen. Here's the ad:

Bruce Hutton, the managing director of the ad agency in question, Bray Leino, says: "Honey Monster is without doubt one of the classic TV ad characters. Having not been on screen for some years, we wanted to give Honey Monster the chance to express himself in a new contemporary way that only he could. But it was essential in doing this that we remained true to the tradition of him being seen as a fun character that families everywhere would love to have at their breakfast tables. We feel his latest antics bring him up to date and have the power to get people talking."

Yup. You've done that all right. I just haven't heard anything good in all that talking.

A similar thing happened a while back when Virgin Mobile (or their ad people) blatantly stole the plot of Danny Wallace's Yes Man (soon to be a film starring Jim Carrey) for an advert. Wallace challenged it and Virgin, to their credit, agreed to make a decently-sized donation to charity to say sorry. And quite rightly so.

And don't get me started about that deplorable new Berocca advert - the one that copies the OK Go video (for the song Here it goes again - It's the one that features the dance routine using treadmill-type exercise machines). That video won a Grammy for goodness' sake! It won a Grammy for originality, cleverness and creativity. Then along comes some lazy ad man (or woman - let's dish the abuse out in equal portions) and just rips it off. And probably got a nice fat pay packet for the 'hard work'. I am saddened that some of our usually inventive advertising companies have sunk so low (so was John Soanes whose excellent rant on the subject is here. He does righteous indignation much better than me). Clients deserve better. We deserve better.

No more, please.


Me said...

Wow - there are anger issues in the post!


Stevyn Colgan said...

Grrrr ... you wouldn't like me when I'm angry ...