Nov 10

T-Mobile goes grave-robbing

Every day, a hundred clients beg their agencies to give them a campaign “like Apple would do.”

And every night, hundreds of creative teams toil into the wee hours, trashing one idea after the next, in the fevered search for that one bit of greatness that will make the client squeal with delight — and maybe, possibly, be a career-maker.

Well, won’t all those creative guys feel silly now. T-Mobile has just figured out a faster, easier, guaranteed path to creative greatness:

Just copy it from Apple outright.

Now that the Mac vs. PC campaign is dead and buried, why not dig it up?

Oh, damn. I forgot. There’s that pesky little obstacle that so often spoils the fun of blatant thievery. It’s called “integrity.”

The real shame is that if you’re an innocent civilian, you’d think this is a pretty funny spot. It’s well written. The characters are well casted. The monkey-on-the-back shtick is always a crowd-pleaser.

It’s just not original.

Before you are sent to the penalty box, T-Mobile, please confess. Was this your idea, or did the agency twist your arm? If there was coercion involved, you may be able to plea-bargain.

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  • Marian

    False advertisement. MyTouch4G can’t in any way be portrayed by that hot chick.
    But the AT&T parallel is a very good one.

  • When any average consumer, who likely doesn’t care about the advertising business, can see an ad and say “that’s a shameless, unapologetic rip-off of another company’s far more successful campaign,” it can’t be a good idea. This is inexcusable.

    Regardless, while the people who wrote this spot should be ashamed of themselves for depriving themselves, their client, and the public, of the fruits of the creative process, it bears another question: Do we have a new standard form of advertising?

    I wonder whether other companies will choose this same form. Will they seek to criticize their competitors by casting clever actors to make their snarky cases against white seamless backdrops and plinky piano tunes? I think it only takes one more advertiser to do it before it stops seeming to belong to Apple altogether.

    After all, we don’t consider it derivative, really, when we shoot a woman in her kitchen or bathroom holding a label towards the camera, intercut with some CGI of chemicals at work. When two men appear in front of a studio audience exploring a product’s features in gleeful disbelief, previous infomercial makers don’t get mad.

    Could the “I’m a Mac” spot be so clever that it’s now a format?

  • Tony Gill

    Sorry Ken, but you’ve just demonstrated that the cliche about Americans not understanding irony is actually very well-founded. T-Mobile aren’t just biting off Apple’s style — they’re poking fun at Apple as they increasingly turn into “the new Microsoft”!

    And BTW, since when was there *ever* any integrity in advertising?!

  • ken segall

    Tony, Tony, Tony:
    Actually, I’m a big fan of irony. I’m also a big fan of creativity. So I find it hard to appreciate irony when a company takes the easy way out creatively.

    Your last comment was probably meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but…

    I do believe integrity is alive and well. Not sure what jobs you’ve had (except one!), but there really are clients who insist on integrity and agencies who refuse to budge on it. Career-wise, young creative people will fare much better if they take less money and go with agencies that are true to their creative vision. Their work will be better and they will be more respected.