There's a fine line between working from inspirational sources and taking someone else's work. For this special Spikes Asia 2017 edition of Campaign's video series, The Big Question, we asked delegates who work in creative positions to voice their thoughts on the issue based on what they've seen in their careers.
We spoke with Timo Otsuki (executive producer at Cutters), Yuko Ueso (art director at Dentsu Isobar), Nara Shin (art director at Innocean Worldwide), and Ada Hau (founder at Digitalforce).
Our subjects mainly seemed to perceive 'copying' as a harsh label some people apply to a legitimate part of the creative process. A repeated theme was that creatives should be allowed to draw upon ideas from existing content to build and improve on them.
Copying has been a recurring point of discussion at Spikes over the years. In 2016 SapientNitro ECD Raymond Chin gave a stage presentation extolling the virtues of standing on the shoulders of others.
Nevertheless, it's unlikely that brands and agencies will look kindly on industry colleagues trying to clone their success. A recent promotion for KFC by Ogilvy & Mather Hong Kong, which printed customer's faces on packaging, drew attention for closely resembling a similar concept for Burger King by Ogilvy & Mather Brazil. Before that, the much-lauded 'Meet Graham' campaign, which added to its already considerable award tally last night), was denied consideration by some juries at Cannes because of some similarity to a campaign that pre-dated it by more than 30 years. In Janaury 2016, a dustup over copying in Malaysia resulted in Dentsu Utama being denied Kancil awards, resignations from the 4As, and changes to the awards rules.