Happiness Brussels Accuses Ogilvy & Mather of Plagiarism

Remember that recent don't-text-and-drive ad from Ogilvy & Mather for Volkswagen that showed moviegoers in Hong Kong watching a person driving when suddenly, everyone in the movie theater received a call, took it, and then saw the person driving on screen crash? Maybe you are one of the 25 million people who have seen the ad. Well, Happiness Brussels is accusing Ogilvy & Mather of copying a don't-talk-and-drive ad they created in 2009. You can view the Ogilvy ad here and you can view the Happiness Brussels ad here. Of the ads' similarities, Happiness Brussels Founder Karen Corrigan said: “The whole thing is completely based on the same mechanic. The only difference is it is for VW and not a safety organization. It is the same message, [mobile call] mechanic. They did not re-use our film but the style is an exact copy.” For its part, OgilvyOne Beijing issued a statement which read: “These campaigns are not related. Our work uses location-based technology in a cinematic experience to highlight the dangers of texting while driving.” Corrigan says she has sent a cease-and-desist demand to VW and Ogilvy & Mather but neither have replied. She laments, “With 24 million views, I think the damage to us is done.” These things are never easily resolved.

In Boston last week, The Ad Club and PayPal's Start Tank completed the inaugural Brand-a-Thon, a 72-hour hack-a-thon event during which 17 start-ups briefed several teams of ad agencies. The agencies then chose to pitch nine of those startups taking 72 hours to create their pitches. Agency pitches were then heard by a panel of judges who selected three winners. NAIL Communications won first place for their pitch to Spray Cake, an absolutely disgusting sounding product that consists of a spray can out of which emanates a cake that can be microwaved. Second place went to allen + gerritsen for their pitch to Supplet, a much healthier-sounding service which sends monthly packages of organic foods to expecting and new mothers. And third place went to Forge Worldwide for their pitch to Project 20/20, an eye doctor on wheels service.

Droga5 is going places! The agency scored its first automotive account last week after having been tapped by Toyota to promote the brand's hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in Japan, U.S. and Europe. Of selecting Droga5, Toyota USA Director of Digital Marketing Strategy Kimberley Gardiner said: "We approached Droga5 to give us some ideas, and they came back with something that blew us out of the water. It ended up being a full campaign pre-launch proposal." David Droga himself has much experience with the brand having worked on the account when he was with Saatchi & Saatchi Asia and London.

Last week there were layoffs and staffing changes at Razorfish. A statement from the agency reads: “Like most companies, flexes in business require us to realign in order to accommodate the evolving needs of our clients. The recent workforce reduction represents less than 3% of our global headcount. We remain committed to sourcing world-class talent and further strengthening our capabilities to deliver business transformation. Our immediate focus is ensuring we continue to provide the best services possible to our existing clients and new accounts such as Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Car2Go.”

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