Rip off someone’s work? You suck.

15Jan10

I’ve had it happen twice in my career. An ACD at my agency (who I didn’t even work with) took one of my campaigns (from a client he didn’t even work on) and put it in his book. And then a couple years ago an ex-creative director of mine called me up and said “Didn’t you come up with the [X campaign] when we worked together? Because a copywriter I just interviewed had it in her book.” Turned out she was the proofreader of my client and decided to put the work in her portfolio when she looked for writer jobs.

So how do I feel about my work getting ripped off? Let’s just say there’s a special place in Hell for hacks who try and pull that shit. I personally do everything in my power to make sure those people never work in advertising again.

That’s why I love the site You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice. They bring to light all the copycats, rip off artists and hacks who think they’ll get away with stealing other people’s ideas. Some of their posts could be chalked up to mere coincidence. Others, like the one above, are clearly stolen. (BTW: Topshop (left), you fucking suck for stealing Made By White’s design (right.))

And for anyone out there who has stolen work in their book? Advertising is a small, small world. And you WILL get caught.

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5 Responses to “Rip off someone’s work? You suck.”

  1. 1 Drew

    I came up with that website. 🙂

  2. It angers me when someone takes heavy inspiration from someone else’s design, so when it’s just plain stolen like the Topshop/Made By White design you’re showing, I have trouble even believing people can be so bold. How do you think you won’t get caught for something like that?!?

  3. 3 HappyWednesday

    Most of these definitely cross the line. There are some examples that aren’t too different from the lack of original thought that goes into most ad campaigns.

    Most creatives just steal from pop-culture and don’t use the original artists. Not to mention how many campaigns are derivative from other campaigns.

    – Jamba Jucie vs Get Your War On.
    – Quiznos vs Rather Good
    etc

  4. I am a Creative Director who has been in the design and advertising field now for 15 years. Please address this issue with the students graduating from Miami Ad School. I have hired 3 of them on a per-project basis who thought it was o.k. to lift someone else’s artwork, albeit a photo or lo-res stock image, then use it in their own design without paying for it or giving credit where credit is due. Boy did I give them a slap on the wrist!

    As a professional, I should never have to worry if a student who has just graduated has created artwork that has legal ramifications for my firm. Ground them and teach them the importance of originality. The 70% rule is not enough.

  5. 5 dognpony

    Yeah, I see a lot of marginal-to-poor students who feel like they have to keep up by ripping off work. I also see really talented students who feel the pressure of having to produce something great again and again – so they give in and rip off work, too.



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