About a month ago, Axe, working with Defy Media and Mindshare, launched a new TV campaign entitled Shower Thoughts. In one of the ads, a man in a shower ponders, "When you're criticized for being short, they're really just saying the worst thing about you is that there isn't more of you."
The ad then shows 5'3" basketball player Muggsy Bogues taking on two much taller players in a two-on-one game. All well and good, right? It's the usual set-up/payoff joke we see all the time. Alas, the idea was not original. At least according to Reddit user JaSfields, who, last August, posted that very same statement in the /r/Showerthoughts subreddit.
Another reddit user, Sleepy_time_wit_taco, upon seeing the ad Axe released last month, posted the video to the/r/PoliticalVideo subreddit and wrote: "AXE is jacking our shower thoughts and not giving credit. Literally word for word."
Responding to Sleepy_time_wit_taco's post, JaSfields defended himself but hedged at the same time, writing: "I did a quick google search of the exact wording I used excluding all results after my post and it returned nothing to do with what I posted. Given the number of words which exist in the english language and the number strung together in that post I'd be highly surprised if they were ever put together in that combination ever before in the history of mankind. Then again, I could be wrong, I don't know. But yeah as far as I can see the 'exact wording' is my idea."
Now, Unilever has issued an apology/non-apology of sorts tellingBusiness Insider, "Our intent with the Shower Thoughts series is to highlight the great creativity and conversations already happening in pop culture. As a champion for creative thought and self-expression, AXE will collaborate on an upcoming piece of content with the person who posted the Shower Thought being referenced."
In other words, yea, they totally stole the idea but are now trying to make up for that misstep by working with -- and, I assume, paying -- JaSfields on future work for the series.
On the upside, at least for Unilever, the ad has been viewed over 800,000 times on YouTube. On the other hand, the ad is overwhelmingly disliked with 18,831 thumbs down and 660 thumbs up.