Ad agency challenges rivals about lookalike ads

DDB smart bro

DDB DM9’s ad for Smart

J Romero's ad for Shakey's

J Romero’s ad for Shakey’s

An advertising agency in the Philippines has raised questions about similarities in the execution of two of its TV commercials with those created by rivals that went to air at a later date.

J Romero & Associates has taken issue with Leo Burnett Manila and DDB DM9 JaymeSyfu as it believes that techniques used in ads it created for client Shakey’s Pizza Parlor have been copied in a DDB DM9 ad for Smart and a spot for McDonald’s by Leo Burnett.

The agency claims that the same visual technique of light sketches made from hand movements in an ad for Shakey’s, which launched in January this year, were used by DM9 in an ad for SmartBro Gadget Plus Plans that went to air in October.

Watch J Romero’s spot for Shakey’s Pizza Parlor:

Watch DDB DM9’s spot for SmartBro Gadget Plus Plans:

J Romero has approached DM9 about the similarities between the ads. In an emailed response, DM9 general manager Ronald Barreiro, wrote:

Let me assure you that DM9 did not use your Shakey’s TVC as a peg or inspiration for our Smart Bro TVC. The production team as well our Smart clients likewise never cited your TVC as a peg during the production process.

I dare not use the cliche “great minds think alike” here.  I’d call this a coincidence.

J Romero has also taken issue with a Leo Burnett ad for McDonald’s that it feels uses a similar Kaleidoscope effect it used in a spot for Shakey’s that ran two months before the McDonald’s ad.

Watch J Romero’s ad for Shakey’s Chicken ‘N Mojos:

Watch Leo Burnett’s ad for McDonald’s Premium All-Beef Burger:

Leo Burnett Manila’s ECD Raoul Panes said that his agency’s ad was in post-production when J Romero’s Shakey’s ad came out, so could not have been influenced by the Shakey’s spot. He told Mumbrella:

We’d like to assure the other agency that their work did not influence ours. We were deep into post-production when their ad came out. As there were technical intricacies with the graphics and the music, it took some time before we signed off on the finished material. And while both ads are employing the kaleidoscope technique, we proceeded as planned with what we started with, because there is no exclusive ownership of the technique.  Our adherence to preset media and marketing calendars, given McDonald’s various campaigns, only allowed us to air the ad at a later date.

We take our creative process seriously – from insighting to production. We will not do anything that will jeopardize our long-standing partnership with McDonald’s.

The story emerges three months after DM9 found itself at the centre of a copy recycling controversy after one of its creative directors used words he had written while in the employment of Saatchi & Saatchi for an ad for DM9.


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