The YouTube dilemma strikes again

German ad agency DSG gets itself into a pickle over an Olympus ad that looks remarkably like something else…

German agency DSG has created a nice, if over-long, film to mark the 50th anniversary of the Olympus PEN camera. YouTube commenters, however, have been quick to point out its similarity to an earlier film

The DSG film (above) tells the story of one man’s life in stop motion. As is explained on its YouTube posting “We shot 60.000 pictures, developed 9.600 prints and shot over 1.800 pictures again. No post-production!”

However, it does look remarkably like Takeuchi Taijin’s Wolf and Pig film

Eliza Williams’ piece The YouTube Dilemma from our May issue (which you can read here) discussed the difficulties ad agencies are getting themselves into over YouTube. On the one hand, here is a rich source of ideas to “borrow” and adapt for campaigns; on the other, is the realisation that they cannot get away with simply taking others’ ideas for their own use as they would have done in the past.

And this is where Olympus and DSG seem to have got themselves into a pickle. In response to commenters pointing out the obvious debt the Olympus film owes to Taijin’s piece, the following has been added: “Some of the comments we have read here suggest that we should mention the creator of “A wolf loves pork”, Mr Taijin Takeuchi. While we were looking for a way to realise a story describing “a journey through time” based on printed images, we were inspired by Mr Takeuchi’s brilliant work. For this reason we intentionally quoted his work in our little movie while showing full respect to his original idea. We didn’t mention his name because we did not want to do so without his prior agreement. However after considering some of the comments posted here we have decided to add credits to him and his work, which we obviously absolutely love.”

Hmmm – not really helping themselves are they?

What makes it all worse is that the PEN is a fantastic camera (the original was designed by Yoshihisa Maitani of OM series fame) and deserves better. The Olympus site features this more appropriate and charming film that has the advantage of actually explaining what the camera does – the new EP-1 has interchangeable lenses.

So not only has the agency embarrassed itself by being caught out, it has done so in making a film that doesn’t tell the viewer anything about this wonderful piece of kit except that it’s 50 years old.

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