Passion: Sony Play-Doh No Rip Off
Passion Pictures MD, Andrew Ruhemann has strenuously denied that his production company "ripped off" LA illustrators Kozyndan over Play-Doh, the new Sony Bravia commercial. In a phone call to Creative Review today, Ruhemann says of the Kozyndan work (detail shown above), "Nobody here ever saw it. It never formed part of the reference material and no-one from Gorgeous or Fallon showed it to us."
The controversy over Play-Doh surfaced late last week when Kozyndan contacted a number of websites, including this one, to point out the similarities between one of their panoramic paintings from 2002 and the new ad. "Strange that someone from Passion Pictures contacted us about a year ago asking to see samples of our work (including this panoramic) as they were interested in working with us. We sent them samples and then heard nothing from them ever again," they said.
The Sony ad in question
In a follow-up email to CR, Kozyndan's Dan said, "All the panoramics we'd completed up till that time were sent, as well as the bunny wave image (above) and other works. I personally do not know if the two are really related. Passion is a big company and there is a gap between our sending our work to Passion, and the production of this ad. We never heard from them again, and we had completely forgotten that ever happened (this is a common thing in the commercial world, no?), but my memory was piqued when I found out that it was Passion who did the production on the spot."
"One of our scouts did contact them three years ago for, I believe, a Microsoft project," confirms Ruhemann, "but she has now left the company and we don't keep pitch material, certainly not from three years ago. [The Kozyndan image] is very close but, hand-on-heart we didn't copy it. We don't operate like that, we work with a lot of artists and we never rip them off, we've been ripped off too many times ourselves to ever let that happen."
"I can see how they might feel aggrieved," says Ruhemann, "and I've been trying to contact them. But [Animation director] Darren Walsh designed those bunnies in his back garden."
Update 9/10: According to The Guardian, Fallon, Sony and Passion have issued the following joint statement: "There is suggestion that there is a similarity between an illustration by Kozyndan and the new Sony BRAVIA ‘Play-Doh’ advert . Sony would like to stress that the advert conception, creative and final animation is not based on any pre-existing artwork. Sony Europe, its agency Fallon, production company Gorgeous, and animation company Passion Pictures, assert that the wave, whale and bunnies were arrived at without reference to these artists. In the original script, the rabbits were one of many creatures to cavort around a cityscape. In fact, the location was only finalised shortly before the shoot. The final creative, led by Juan Cabral at Fallon and director Frank Budgen at Gorgeous, was chosen to champion the brand and best reflect ‘colour.like.no.other’. Sony enjoys working with experienced and talented creatives and all involvement in a campaign is always credited."
certainly lots of similarities here but I'm willing to give Passion the benefit of the doubt until/unless information surfaced which really makes them look guilty.
I also believe that the implementation of the tv spot and the illustration of bunnies on a street are pretty far apart. Concept could be considered similar, of course, but a ton of new intelligence made its way onto moving film.
my .02 cents.
ideas don't appear from nowhere. you could trace any ad back to it's influences and call it "a rip off". Surley the skill of advertising creatives is what influences they use and how they are interperated.
Too similar. I wish CR would take more of an editorial position everytime this happens. I also hope that rip-off ads like Cog will stop winning awards - why do we reward intellectual theft?
"I wish CR would take more of an editorial position everytime this happens."
You seem to be forgetting that we were the ones who broke the story about Cog and Fischli and Weiss' threatened legal action in an issue in which we made our views on the moral position quite plain: no other publication had even raised the similarity between Cog and Der Lauf Der Dinge before. A letter appeared in CR which we followed up in a feature. We also see it as our role not to jump to conclusions before hearing from all sides, unlike many of the blog posts concerning Play-Doh on other sites, a courtesy I'm sure all readers would expect us to extend to them were they to be accused of wrongdoing and, even online, a legal necessity.
Shame they ripped off the soundtrack to the iMac ad as well. (Are they going to pretend they didn't see that?)
Oh well, you can't hit the ball out of the park every time.
Yes as Von Nichthoven says,
Its funny to look at this as well
With the same soundtrack, moving blocks/imacs and the rotating colour wheel at the end.
Maybe bunnies are just taking over: http://www.florentijnhofman.nl/index.php?page=projects&id=40
There is just too much of this going on - to name a few:
- The Bravia Balls was 1st done on a TV show (they also did melons and marbles)
- The Axe campaign (Get a girlfriend) used two guys playing Coinage - straight off Youtube
- MTN stop animation ads
- the Honda "Things just work" ad
Why is it that every time a great ad, the kind of ad that keeps everyone talking about for months or even years -as "Balls"-Sony Bravia- comes out, someone tries to take advantage of that in some kind of way????? I am pretty sure that in this globalized world that we are living in, we can find thousands of drawings and illustrations of plenty of things... bunnies, hearts, flowers, clocks, lamps, cars, etc, etc. But why do people always tend to think that these great creations have to be a copy of someone else´s work? I´m pretty sure that someone like the creative behind the ad did not need to copy anyone to make this wonderful ad. If anyone takes the time to look at his brillant and rampant carrer, it would make it really difficult and unbelievable to think that he has copied anyone or that he ripped off someone else´s idea. He is a talented creative who has made dozens of great ads before his big hit "Balls". I do not know if the illustrastors Kozyndan have ever been in contact with the creative himself, but I doubt it, as they have never mentioned that. However, as the illustrator himself said, he was asked by the Passion Pictures group for some illustrations 3 years ago, and then they never heard from them again... and he adds: "We never heard from them again, and we had completely forgotten that ever happened (this is a common thing in the commercial world, no?), but my memory was piqued when I found out that it was Passion who did the production on the spot.” " His illustrations never got anywhere with that company, they never used them and it seems that Passion Pictures discarded his illustrations and never made use of them. It is really hard to think that they were holding the illustrations till a good opportunity arises and then use them for an international ad of Sony Bravia. It is my beleif that Kozyndan is taking advantage of the resemblance of his illustration of bunnies in New York with the ad just to have everyone talking about him and make some stunt for himself and perhaps, if he is lucky, sell some of his illustrations. Also, it is my beleif that he is a little bit upset that his drawing took him anywhere, and a similar idea got international attention and good feedback.
In times where everyone can upload easily and unexpensevily things on the internet, and when everyone with access to the Internet, can share with the rest of the world their ideas... it is easy to find that someone else at the other side of the world have a similar idea... but then again, Internet has far too much information and it seems almost impossible that everyone see everyone else´s work.
I beleive that Fallon, Passion Pictures and Sony Bravia´s ad creative are being used by someone who´s lucky enough to have an illustration similar to the ad of Sony, and they are trying to get their 10 minutes of glory by rising up their voices and tell the world that Fallon and Passion Pictures ripped off the idea.
We are clever than that, and we should know better by now.
If it looks like a bunny, and it hops like a bunny, it probably is a bunny.
We have enjoyed working with Kozyndan in the past, as they are without a doubt "experienced and talented creatives". It is a pity that Sony's short-sightedness brings them to be more concerned in damage control rather than establishing and developing a good (original) source for future collaborations.
I am sad that so many of you are giving Passion, Fallon and specifically Mr Cabral the benefit of the doubt!
The person before last said:
"If anyone takes the time to look at his brilliant and rampant career, it would make it really difficult and unbelievable to think that he has copied anyone or that he ripped off someone else´s idea."
well I suppose its unbelivable that he might have ripped this off either:
Same client, same M.O. Its so blatant it verges on arrogance. In both cases they haven't even bothered to change the location. In the balls one it is actualy the same street! not just the same city, the same street.
How can Kozyndan accuse Sony of ripping them off when they ripped off Hokusai? Hypocrites!!!
>>> How can Kozyndan accuse Sony of ripping them off when they ripped off Hokusai? Hypocrites!!!
Oh dear! can you not see that this is a parody of a famous painting changing the water to rabbits, not a rip off, it is a playful nod toward a very famous piece of art!
I find it hard to imagine nobody had seen those illustrations! although it makes me chuckle to think that somebody in the creative department of one of these agencies, when approached by the bosses and fronted with the question of whether they had seen it, looked at his/her shoes and said "errr NO!" and then quickly deleted the jpegs he/she'd grabbed off the kozyandan site, and removed the post-its from the pages of some obscure illustration magazine. Having seen the iMac advert, in regards with the music and colours, it starts to feel like much more like a creative team struggling with a tight deadline - don't worry guys we've all been there!
lol at the statement by sony. like a company would ever make a public statement admitting they did something shameful or wrong.
Did Duchamp "Rip off" his plumber?
Nothing (especially in advertising) is original.
Lets stop bitching about what we all do, which is be influenced by the world around us, and focus our critique on whether things are done well or not.
There's also the question of the Space Invader style ceramic tiles in the shape of a bunny which appear in both the print and the ad. hmmm
Alejandra Bezirot, there is no other bunny reference like this that I’m aware of. What’s more, Kozyndan are among the most well-known illustrators worldwide, not some obscure doodlers fresh out of Art Center. Your conspiracy theory that Kozyndan are in it for the money or fame is utterly ridiculous. Be assured that they’re quite well-off already in both respects. From what common friends have told me, KnD only heard about the Bravia ad when others of their friends called them and expressed their outrage. It’s astounding that you wrote as much as you did without even the least effort at research. As the most obvious example, Kozyndan aren’t one person–it’s a girl and her boyfriend, Kozy and Dan.
As of the time of my writing this comment (before moderation asked me to amend it to conform to UK libel standards) nobody had taken the bait and noted that Kozyndan did a little rip on Hokusai’s Wave, and thank goodness. There’s a thin line between ripping something off and giving a totemic image new, sometimes ironic meaning. Kozyndan’s Hokusai/bunny piece is a mustache on a Mona Lisa; Fallon’s Bravia ad is something much worse in my opinion. The difference is that, to my eyes, Fallon didn’t improve, change, comment on or ‘plus’ as we Americans used to say, the original by Kozyndan. I see them as mirror images--multicolored bunnies in a cityscape. Add meshes, rigging and keyframes via a team of $400/day Maya guys, some match-moving, texturing and compositing, and voila, I see nothing but Kozyndan in motion. Append intellectual laziness to the list of sins I accuse them of.
I say Fallon because in the normal course of things, Fallon would have created the ad and then hired the director/production company, no? And even though we all know that Frank Budgen is big enough to reverse that pipeline on occasion, I still blame Fallon. If my opinion is right, what a fall from grace for Fallon, one of the best and relentlessly original ad agencies in the history of the game.
djangone -- Maya guys? The Sony ad is pure stop motion. And you're giving out to someone for not doing _their_ research.
Personally, I think without knowing the intimate details of the ad's creation we can't tell if it was a rip-off or not. It's a bunch of coloured bunnies jumping around a city, so while it is indeed quite close to Kozyndan's illustrations, it's also not a huge leap from the previous Bravia ads either.
Who the hell are Kozyndan and who cares. They're riding off the publicity from this without having actually done anything new to comment on, so lets just leave it alone and move on!
Unfortunately this kind of thing is nothing new. See (most recently):
I have registered my complaint about the Bravia Ad with Sony themselves and received their stock response, and am now going to communicate with their press office.
Speaking to Sony direct about this they tell me that the more people who complain the further this will go in Sony. Please complain using their feedback form.....
"Nothing (especially in advertising) is original. Lets stop bitching about what we all do, which is be influenced by the world around us, and focus our critique on whether things are done well or not."
I agree with this statement to an extent. I believe there is a difference between being inspired by something and ripping work off. Even if they were inspired by the illustrations (and aren't admitting it) it’s only really a starting point to the Sony ad..they progressed it and did amazing work with it.
I don’t think we should necessarily “focus our critique on whether things are done well or not” it’s not all about the execution. For me a great ad is one that engages, has strategy, concept and is executed brilliantly, which I think all the Sony Bravia ads have done.
Kevin Cannon, I think you missed the point of Patrick's post. If they used Maya, 3D Studio Max, After Effects, in-Camera effects is all a technicality. What he tried to say is that Kozyndan is a famous group that every creative/advertising person knows about. And for someone to attack the artists through so many paragraphs, without getting informed first on how established they really are, is wasting their time with a weak argument.
The reality is artwork is often inspired by other artwork. The creator of the ad may not even recall seeing the Kozyndan art at some time, although, I think he probably did. I love Kozyndan, they are my favorite artists, but in this case, this ad is a new piece of art. I wish that Passion pictures had worked with them to create it, but they didn't. What stands now is two pieces of art with similarities. Kozyndan are famous for recreating their own versions of classic art. I hope that they can appreciate being an inspiration to others.
I thought the rabbits were shit, totally turned me off. Then to find they ripped off a crap idea, shit.
There is many similarities in this but yeah there is a fine line between being inspired and copying an idea.
Maybe it was a coincidence that Fallon etc had the same idea and they didn't even have to view the artwork?
Some people say this:
"Great minds think alike"
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