News

Singapore jobs site called out for ‘copy and paste’ plagiarism of local design firm’s idea

A marketing idea for Singapore Press Holdings-owned careers search engine STJobs has been called out by a small local design firm for plagiarising its work.

The boutique shop, Tee-Saurus, which designs t-shirts, tote bags and other collateral, created a series of comical sketchpads for office workers to place on their desks that went on sale online in July last year. The firm says the idea and execution, called the Singlish Office Buddy, have been copied without credit or acknowledgement by STJobs in a direct marketing idea to promote its brand in Singapore offices.

STJobs new calendars (left) and Tee-Saurus' original (right)

On Leave

Tee-Saurus posted images of STJobs’ work on Facebook, tagging STJobs’ page, and wrote: “Cheapskates. Direct rip offs. Have you no shame.”

Tee-Saurus' Facebook post on STJobs desk work status updates

Tee-Saurus’ Facebook post on STJobs desk work status updates

Five executions from STJobs’ campaign have been highlighted for being very similar to the Singlish Office Buddy.

Warning

Creative head Lawrens Tan, who was alerted to STJobs’ version of The Singlish Office Buddy by a friend who spotted it on a colleague’s desk, told Mumbrella he was “shocked” by the “wholesale copy and paste” appropriation of the idea and copywriting.

STJobs and Tee-Saurus work

SPH has declined to comment, or respond to any questions about the campaign.

Very Beesy

Tan said that he had not noticed sales had been impacted by circulation of the STJobs sketchpads, but found the experience to be “heartbreaking”.

In an email exchange with Mumbrella, he commented: “In Singapore, I believe there are a lot of original ideas around. But there are instances where people need quick solutions, so they simply pass of someone else’s idea as their own. This is not something new in the industry, but it’s heartbreaking when it happens.”

“Behind every piece of work there are countless hours spent on creating and shaping the idea. Good work doesn’t come instantly. It’s a process of refining and tweaking until it’s perfect,” he wrote.

Ad for Singlish Office Buddy

Ad for Singlish Office Buddy

Tee-Saurus came out with an earlier version of Singlish Office Buddy called Basic Sketchpads in January 2015, which featured four executions. The current iteration launched six months later, and is on sale for S$15 on Naiise, Space Invasion, Megafesh and The People’s Avenue as well as on Tee-Saurus’ website, for .

Singlish Office Buddy, which was awarded for its design with inclusion in the Singaplural Recognition Showcase 2016, now has versions in Cantonese, Taiwanese and ‘Perfectly English’.

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