The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

This Isn’t A Case Of ‘Can You Spot The Differences’, This Is More A Case Of ‘Can You Spot Any Difference’ At All?
August 21, 2008, 6:55 am
Filed under: Comment

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Droga5 must fucking love the guys behind the 2005 British television series, ‘Man Stroke Woman’!

Sour grapes?

Not really, you see whilst I genuinely believe the campaign we were ready to launch after our initial Symphony spot, was miles better than this [but I would say that wouldn’t I, plus this ad is for a VB variant called ‘Gold’ rather than the masterbrand] … I really like and rate Droga5.

I suppose what’s really pissed me off about them putting out work so obviously ‘inspired’ by someone else is …

[1] it undermines the value and creativity of the whole industry – especially when it’s from a company who are regarded as one of the shining lights of adland

[2] it undermines how great Droga5 can be – and they can be really, really great.

I know I’ve been threatening to show the work we were going to make before certain senior advertising executives at an international network went completely fucking mad and pissed off Fosters, but now is not the time …

Saying that, despite the fact our new strat didn’t really get to see the light of day, I am pretty bloody proud our only involvement with the brand led to one of VB’s most dramatic shifts in communication for about 40 years – however as I explained here – it wasn’t change for the sake of it, it was about getting the brand away from it’s ‘shorts and singlets’ image and back to the values it [and Australia] was built on.

Jesus, can you hear us slapping ourselves on the back?

This is not meant to be a piss off Droga5 – as I said, I think they are really great and I have friends that are there – it’s just that this is not them at their best and I hope in future they let the brilliance flow from their brains, not their DVD collection!

63 Comments so far
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The whole inspiration/copying debate is one thing (and this seems to have them bang to rights) but since I (like many I’m guessing) , hadn’t seen the original I’d not be too worried about that if the end result was remotely worthwhile.

What’s the ad saying? Gold drinkers have mouthy planner-types for mates? And why use the sketch’s tagline (the guy starting a new and allegdly more inclusive conversation)? Seems to me that just hides the shh of the bottle opening. Why not lift that in the sound mix and have everyone dissolve into a silence initiated by Gold – a bunch of mates sharing their camaraderie just by being together having a beer. But hey I’m not a creative.

Comment by John

I was disappointed when I saw this comparison yesterday… and I won’t lie, I rate Droga5 pretty highly too so I was actually hoping this was part of some bigger “idea”, like it was done or purpose because they seem like the kind of group who think like that… and that’s why I love them. Becuase you never quite know what it’s all about before you’re interacting in interesting ways (their phone in the microwave stuff and website come to mind).

But no, I was wrong. Which is disappointing because it shows that in the end, too often than not we all come back to a 30 second TVC, and even then the mighty Droga5 couldn’t be completely original about it.


Comment by Age

sure youre being objective campbell ๐Ÿ™‚

i dont like the fucking sketch so i sure as fuck dont like the ad but its not drogas fault, stealing is part of the australian psyche so theyre just playing to culture type, lol.

theyve been caught red handed and its not good for anyone, least of all the droga boys who are good guys, what this example of agency arm twisting shows is that google isnt making us stupid its making us honest but the aussie arm of droga still have some way to go.

id love to hear what vb thought when this all came out but theyre such a bunch of starfuckers they probably think its like being on e news or some equally turgid piece of celebrity schtick

Comment by andy@cynic

so dodds if you were marketing director of vb would you be happy about this? do you think they showed the original clip to the real marketing director? do you think someone should of figured out an aussie icon with a hot new agency would attract especially high interest and investigation? do you think an ad that makes the masses look bigger wankers than the mouthy bastard is a good idea? the sound mix is not the issue the arrogance of client and agency is but im impressed with your creative director lingo attempt, lol

i like droga but i fucking hate this and it seriously fucks up their cred which is especially dangerous for a new company with a big reputation so unless their mantra is “we steal from less well known places” they better pull their heads out their ass

Comment by andy@cynic

I should have been clearer – the copying issue is only a red herring for me if it’s agreed copying and not theft – i.e if the original creators (of the sketch in this case) licensed it to them or redid it for them and it was made clear that this happened in the trade media at the very least.

If an idea is a good one, then I’m not too worried if it’s converted to an ad – better to have an original good idea but they’re pretty hard to come by. And of course, even if it’s not stolen, the new version must also be at least as good as the original (unlike the hideous low rent Berocca rip off of the Ok Gos exercise machine video).

If it is stolen, then of course it destroys their reputation within the industry and it should also do so with the public (though I’m not sure that it does).

Comment by John

I don’t know if the sssshhhh is even supposed to be linked to the bottle opening sound and even if it is, it’s abit sad – I mean, all carbonated drinks go sssshhhhh when you open them so its hardly a key motivating reason to buy.

And then – as John say’s – is the ad message of egalitarian elitism. To be fair, we were heading in that kind of area but the difference is we weren’t going to be picking on the ‘mouthy bastard’ within our own social group but the idiots who spend as much money on a car as normal people would on a house etc etc.

I hate how this ad features the usual ‘singlet and shorts’ crowd when that is one of the reasons the brands relevance with the new image concious crowd is dying [hence we were talking about the values of the people, not the dress sense – see Symphony] … but putting that aside, the issue is that such blatant disregard for copyright makes a mockery of the ad industries claim their ideas are worth more money from clients.

Apparently this ad was directed by the same guy who directed the original – as if that makes it all better – so I wonder how Droga would react if another agency ripped off one of their original pieces of work in such a blatant way but said it was OK because it was directed by an ex employee of David’s?

The more I think about it the more pissed off I get …

Comment by Rob

As I said in my previous comment, apprentely it was directed by the guy behind the original sketch so it’s not stolen – I am sure big money changed hands – however as neither Droga or VB [who may or may not of known about its origin] admitted to its heritage, so the impression left is trying to take people for a ride.

Of course the masses probably don’t care [about the issue or the ad] – but that’s not the point – the issue is how an industry can claim to be worth the money it’s paid when their solution to every business problem is a television ad [though I know from personal experience how much VB push for this output] that’s only original aspect is that the brand logo now appears at the end of the ‘sketch’.

Comment by Rob

Are you saying the original director was involved but none of the original writers/creators got paid?

Comment by John

For somewhat contrived argument’s sake, what if a sketch had been written that was infinitely superior to the one featured above and had nailed an insight perfectly, but for some reason had not become widely known? A couple of years later, you identify the identical insight for a client.

Assuming that a TV spot is appropriate, that everyone is paid and that the provenance is made clear, can you use that sketch as an ad or is that still taking people for a ride?

Comment by John

The word is the director was the same guy [but I’m not even sure of that, Billy told me that’s what he’d heard] so whether he was also the writer of the sketch is something I can’t comment on – however it also depends on whether the original piece was sold via a production company because if it was, then the writers may have reliqueshed their rights to ongoing copyright ownership.

Comment by Rob

“We steal from less well known places”, now that is a positioning ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Pete

Andy said it best… credibility fucked.

Comment by Age

i am the john harvey-jones of adland and if you dont know who that is then fuck off and pop your puberty zits

Comment by andy@cynic

Sir John Harvey Jones?

For once I can see the comparisson – he was [is?] a fat, rich loud mouthed bastard too ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Rob

[…] Rob Campbell, a self-named opinionated sod who worked on earlier VB campaigns, has a rant along with his commenting friends, saying “This Isnโ€™t A Case Of โ€˜Can You Spot The Differencesโ€™, This Is More A Case Of โ€˜Can You Spot Any Differenceโ€™ At All?” Share and Enjoy: […]

Pingback by VB Gold Ssh Awards in Man Stroke Women Style | The Inspiration Room Daily


Comment by andy@cynic

Holy shit. I missed this one. What a stunner.

Seriously though the whole debate about ripping ideas doesn’t get me animated. I say if an idea is obviously ripped from a source then the agency shouldn’t be paid for the creative part. Otherwise I really like the sssh idea and couldn’t give a fig where it came from.

Comment by Charles Frith

When i press play it says ” We’re sorry, this video is no longer available” – Someone nicked this too ?

Comment by bhaskar

It’s still working for me Bhaskar – maybe India has a copyright infringement censorship rule in place. Wonder if you can buy that for agencies? ๐Ÿ™‚

As for you Mr Frith …

Whilst I completely agree that if an ad has been obviously ripped from a source [and not altered in any dramatic way] then the agency shouldnโ€™t be paid for their creative time … however I can’t work out why this issue doesn’t get you riled up because it is going to stop people like you from ever having the chance to create really great ideas because clients will start to view adland as just an adaption specialist for others ideas.

I know that sounds dramatic, but when adland complains it’s no longer allowed in the boardroom – it’s their own fucking fault.

As for the sssh idea – weren’t Schweppes doing something like that years ago, albeit with a different meaning.

Look the idea is OK, but where does it go and what does it say?

You know what, I don’t really care about that – I’m more bothered that VB is back to the shorts & singlets image – but then with the credit crunch, maybe the inhabitants of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs can’t afford their delusional lifestyle anymore and are getting back intouch with the simple pleasures they once found so beneath them ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Rob

i actually think they are funny. And their original press release talks about where it came from and that the same writer/ director worked on it.
Just like the Bud “Wass up” campaign.

Comment by philip A

Thanks Philip – I’m glad acknowledgement was made upfront – so that just leaves me wondering why they didn’t use their abundance of brain power to create something new rather than this copy & paste execution.

We have to remember VB’s problem is attracting new people to the brand – the loyalists would drink the stuff out of a wheelbarrow – and one of its key problems is ‘image’, especially in these delusion & illusion times, so I can’t see how this spot really addresses that problem.

Ignoring all that, I now cannot wait to see the motherbrand stuff they’re going to be doing – if anything all this debate is going to encourage them and VB to really reach the heights of their potential and that can only be a good thing for all.

Comment by Rob

Apprentely these ads were written with the Queensland market in mind.

For those who have never been to the ‘Sunshine State’, these ads are a being very kind to the people there [hahaha] however this does bring up an important issue that too many in adland forget …


… so whilst I’m a big fan of not falling into lowest-common-denominator crap, if your work can’t be understood by the masses without tons and tons of background information, then it’s more alienating than motivating.

So if this ad was really done with the Queensland market in mind, don’t show it in other bloody states where they regard the average Queenslander to be one degree above Neanderthal man!

Which means this is more a client/media issue than Droga5 – except for the fact they copied someone elses homework to get a good grade ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Rob

I guess Reliance has a secret copyright infringement censorship rule in place because i can view the spots with an Airtel connection and they sure wont sell to ad agencies; scared that too may get copied!or nicked! Ha !

Comment by bhaskar

It would seem Droga 5 have created a new department within advertising, the executional middleman.

I hope their fee justifies this vision.

Comment by Lee Hill

You tell me Lee, they’re doing some work for you out of Australia ๐Ÿ™‚

In all seriousness, this is not meant to be a Droga5 bash – they are good people who have done some great stuff [and I’m not just talking ads either] – it’s just a pisser that at the very point they could of inspired Aussie adland to reach new heights, they don’t just go and embrace category/industry conventions … they bloody use some other persons idea [and even get them to do it] for themselves.

Luckily for them the rest of adland are still miles behind so this ‘pit stop’ might not affect them too much and they can get back out on the track and zoom ahead again.

No, I don’t know where this racing analogy came from either.

Comment by Rob

Droga5! What the fuck are you doing? There is absolutely nothing new, insightful, interesting, inspiring, revolutionary or even desirable about this campaign!! You’ve just done what everyone has ever done with major beer brands in Australia – glossed over the top and reiterating the same old fucking stereotypes. Oh, except you’ve tried to introduce that lackey humour. Ha. Never have thought of that one…

C’mon! I know it takes a lot of small, slow movements to turn a ship around, but this is ridiculous! To be honest, I’d rather see “matter of fact I’ve got it now” than this – at least that has nostalgia attached to it!

Actually, maybe this is part of some crazy reverse psychology strategy: launch the ‘safe’ campaign – the one that the VB Marketing Manager was able to sign off without even thinking about it; have it trashed in the media, so that you can say: “see? the people want something with real insight. real guts” and then get the good campaign signed off – the one that Mr VB Marketing Manager broke out in a sweat over.

Comment by lauren

sorry – that WAS meant to be a Droga5 bash. I have unreasonable and high expectations of them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by lauren

Long story short, this ad is SHIT. It does bother me that it’s a rip-off but even putting that aside, for a brand like this, from a company like that, it’s just not fucking good enough.

Bring back Symphony I say.

As an aside, I don’t want VB to move TOO far away from shorts and singlets, but I’m open to broadening my mind, like with Symphony, AND more importantly to shorts and singlets being made more attractive to me – to me remembering the charm of shorts and singlets and the beauty of what VB own.

Comment by Angus

Or you could just follow Lauren’s attitude and go for it because what she say’s is pretty accurate – especially the first para.

[Not sure the 3rd para works though Lauren, remember this post …

… makes it even more amazing we got Symphony through, but then – in true Scooby Doo styleee – if it wasn’t for those pesky corporate advertising types, we might of got away with it ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Rob

perhaps they don’t want to inspire Aussie adland, perhaps they want them like lemmings to follow this example,and fall of the egde of the adworld
perhaps they used this spot to break the competitions back’s, by letting them believe they don’t act to differently from the rest..
perhaps they are evil after all and Tap was a clever side step
perhaps this is their way of becoming cynic’s arch enemies and becoming Steve Ballmers best friend

Comment by n to the h

Hello Angus – it’s been way too long, how the hell are you lovely?

I am with you on all your points – and without wishing to look a smarmy cock, you’d of soooooo loved the ad we were going to do after Symphony because it covers all your points but relates it back to values rather than bogan fashion.

I will put it up, or if you prefer, send you a secret squirel link to it where you can have a view and I can’t get in any more legal shit ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Rob

You are the scariest man I know N-to-the-H.

But I mean that in a good way ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Rob

Flattering Rob, but..

I think we both know I am just Tyson to someone elses Ali

Comment by n to the h

Disappointing and cliched.

So many Australian beer ads are like this and I’m sure that schhhh thing has been used by another Australian beer. Harn or Haan?

Comment by Bazza

OK N-To-The-H, lets just settle on you being the next generation of scary person. Better?

And you’re right Bazza … it was Hahn Beer. They spelt it something like “HAAAaaaaahn” to represent the sound people make after they’ve just had a gulp of ice cold beer.

It’s not quite the same – but then I can’t remember how the ads actually went [problem #1] so who knows … this might be a rip off of a rip off of a rip off of the Schweppes work that used the ‘sonic branding devide’ way back when you were just 2″ high!

Comment by Rob

A small side step, but I just learned that there is a beer called xxxx, and it’s from queensland as well..

Is queensland like vegas or daytona beach spring break, cause judging from the ads and the beer and the comments about it’s people, it looks like a fun place to go..

Is this area worth a stop on a tour of Australia?

Comment by n to the h

In Australia, it’s called Brisvegas and it has ‘schoolies’ week. Maybe you can hitch a ride with John Dodds, I’m sure he has a trip planned ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Rob

I hadn’t realised that the Schweppes work was that recent.

Comment by John

What the “Ssssschhhh, you know who” stuff?

Comment by Rob

Email sent Rob-ness. Can’t wait to see it. I’m well thank you, hope all is shiny in your world.

Comment by Angus

Sent …

Comment by Rob

OK Rob, after re-reading your energy vampire post again, I’d like to add this to my rant:

Dear VB,

The reason your sales are crap, your image is in the doldrums and you’re having to scrape the barrell of endorsement icons like Shane Warne, Ian Botham and David Boon (not that i don’t love Boonie per se) is because you are a bunch of short-sighted, spineless, complacent, scaredy cats. How do you expect a change of image if you can’t let go of the old one? Are you all drunk all of the time? For fuck’s sake! Pretend just for one minute that you cared about beer. Pretend for just one minute that Australian’s care about beer*. Take this quarter’s divided and go to Germany where there are 300+ breweries and see what it’s like to really have some competition and some craft about the process. Then come back and listen to what your future market has to say to you.

*[there’s a reason that the SABMiller distro has been a success here and has saved CCA’s arse, you idiots – Peroni and Pilsner Urquell. Australians want decent beer!]

Comment by lauren

That’s not a rant Lauren, that’s a job application.

Comment by John

hmm… i don’t think VB would really like me to work for them. hell, if they can’t copy with either Rob and the kids from GPY&R, or the guys from Droga5, they’re hardly likely to listen to me now are they?

Comment by lauren

cope, not copy. and dividend, not divided.
right, i’m off to bed. /rant

Comment by lauren

But they do copy with the guys from Droga5. Boom Tish.

Comment by John

we make a good team doddsy ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by lauren

fuck me this post almost stayed on track, what the fuck is going on?

funny how the only people who had the balls to tell it as it is were a couple of chicks and a geeky midget. the rest of you should be afuckingshamed of yourselves, go out and tie some buttercups together you bunch of limp wristed pansies

Comment by andy@cynic

you gonna let andy call you a chick like that bazza?

Comment by lauren

whats he going to do lauren, bite my fucking ankle?

Comment by andy@cynic

You mean the only people who were trying to stay in your good books you mean.

Comment by John

couple of chicks and a geeky migdet.. that’s sitcom heaven. or adult entertainment heaven

either way, talent wasted in ad land

Comment by n to the h

Sudeep, “Nobby” and his cronies who worked on the vb account, I believe the creatives were Cam Blackley and Matt Burton, should be ashamed that they fucked up so badly at their first attempt. At least the NY office embraced originality, the Sydney outpost sucks balls…

Comment by charlie moore

You soooooooooooo belong on this blog Charlie ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Rob

I don’t know “man stroke woman”, I’ve never seen it. I’m surprised that no one has pointed out the fact that the casting and acting (let alone the script) in that little clip is fucking terrible.

Which leads me to a point I’ve been banging on about for ages…

Yes, it’s been pinched, yes it’s not particularly good and yes, yes, yes shame on Droga


it’s better than the original.

The casting is better, the timing is better and the script is better.

It’s not a good ad, and it may not be “good” for VB but it does happen to be a better piece of TELEVISION.

Comment by Marcus

I should point out that I’ve just tested my theory on Eva and she totally disagreed with me. In fact she called me a fuck wit.

Ho Hum.

Comment by Marcus

Eva for President … Eva for President …

[This also explains why your daughter is the female Steven Spielberg and you’re not ๐Ÿ™‚ ]

Comment by Rob

I’m really disappointed. This is supposed to be the ‘cutting edge’ ground breaking agency shining example of creativity, innovation etc.

So they do a really average TV ad, which got it’s inspiration from somewhere else, is nowhere near as funny as the VB ‘kebab’ spot, even tho the brand wanted to change that, and do a really lame attempt at ‘interactive’ where people post their mates rants.

Maybe I should shhhh but this is complete shit.

Droga 5 sydney sucks balls man. How annoying was the voice over on that virgin piece of post production wank?!

Where’s the big integrated ideas!?

What the fuck’s happened to Nobby? Or was it Saatchi’s that was brilliant, not him?

Comment by bilbo

I like all these new people coming on here – not because they’re slagging things off, but because they have an opinion … good or bad … and they’re not frightened to say it.

Jesus, this is becoming the Betty Ford Clinic For The Opinionated – and I like that because at this place, we’re not here to cure, we’re here to speak the truth. Allegedly ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Rob

You can’t handle the truth.

Comment by John

Bit bored are you John?

Comment by Rob

And the best thing about this Clinic for The Opinionated is that people are also unafraid to nominate themselves. Unlike over at Scamp’s where it’s the Clinic for the Anonymously Opinionated.

Comment by lauren

Well, judging by the amount of people who have commented ON A SATURDAY, maybe this should also be known as the Betty Ford Clinic For The Social Leper ๐Ÿ™‚

Comment by Rob

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