Design marketplace Etsy is facing accusations its latest advertising campaign is a copy of an Australian-made advertisement for Ansell condoms, however, one marketing expert says advertisers using similar ideas does not necessarily equate to copying.
Etsy launched its global “Difference Makes Us” campaign last week with a video advertisement, created by US agency Office of Baby, which features a montage of different people’s bedside tables and the various items that people keep in them, including notebooks, toys, condoms, and in one case, a bible.
Australian design studio The Good Copy has said it was “struck by the similarity” between the ad and one it worked on for condom brand Ansell in 2015, reports Ad News, although the studio said it is “glad Etsy included condoms in their version too” as “safe sex is one idea everyone should use”.
The Ansell ad also features a series of different people’s bedside tables, but each drawer shown in the ad contains a variety of Ansell condoms, along with other items such as handcuffs. The ad’s tagline is: “We love being in your drawers”.
“It’s hard not to notice the similarities,” The Good Copy editor Kane Daniel told SmartCompany this morning.
“It could just be a case of parallel thinking, but, if not, there aren’t too many differences to celebrate.”
SmartCompany contacted Etsy for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication. However, the company told Ad News its “original digital ads … were conceived out of Etsy and Office of Baby’s headquarters in the US”.
SmartCompany also contacted Office of Baby and Ansell for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.
When is a similar idea a copy?
Marketing expert Michelle Gamble, from Marketing Angels, told SmartCompany she doubts a company such as Etsy would copy advertising material from a different brand and while it is clear that both brands have been “inspired by similar things”, she believes claims of direct copying in this case would be “drawing a long bow”.
In any case, she doesn’t believe the similarities in the concept of the ads will do damage to either brand, and suggests both companies may in fact benefit from brand recall among consumers who’ve seen both clips.
Gamble says all advertising is developed through a creative process and there is arguably no such thing as an “original idea”. However, she believes it’s essential for clients and brands to take responsibility during this process and do their research. This is also the case when it comes to brand development, with Gamble saying she has seen examples of brands being presented with corporate identity material, including logos, that end up looking similar to their competitors.
Gamble recommends brands present creative ideas to a broad range of people early on in the process and follow up on any instances when someone says the material looks like material from another company.
“Clients need to take responsibility and use trademark and IP lawyers to check if there is something similar,” she says if the concerns are serious.