Looks Like Carphone Warehouse, Smells (and Sounds) Like Minilogue

Minilogue video by Kristopher Storm (Music by Minilogue).

Carphone Warehouse ad by Kristopher Storm (Music by Minilogue).

I’m really confused. Everything in my brain is shutting down and I’ve got no idea what to say about it. My groove has been well and truly freaked.

I saw the Carphone Warehouse ad on telly and thought this is quite a nice advertisement. Then something twitched in my brain and I thought “Fuck me, that really reminds me of that Minilogue video”, then I heard the music at the end and though “Fuck me, it even sounds like bloody Minilogue”.

Then I went and looked both of them up and realised that they’ve been done by the same guy: Kristofer Strom.

Here’s why my brain almost imploded:

  1. I’m glad that it’s not a ripoff or ‘homage’
  2. I like the fact they’ve gone to the source to get it made – I like the idea of people being ‘discovered’ on YouTube then being given decent budgets to make more of their ‘art’
  3. I think it works well as a ad, I think it’s nice
  4. It’s taking something that’s been seen by 3m people globally (on YouTube) and whacking it all over the ad breaks on UK TV where it will be seen my millions more (don’t know if I feel good or bad about that – probably just neutral)
  5. BUT CREATIVELY IT FEELS LIKE THE LAZIEST THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD EVER, doesn’t it?
  6. Or does point 5 even matter? If it’s a good ad that tells the right story and engages the target market (and the creator is getting duly rewarded) why should I be such a stuck-up creative fuckwad about it?

I don’t know how anyone else feels about it, but it’s certainly raised a debate in my head that’s not dying down…

Is this the future? Does it even matter? Do I really care?

21 thoughts on “Looks Like Carphone Warehouse, Smells (and Sounds) Like Minilogue”

  1. yay! Throw caution to the wind and whistle a merry song to the bank. Let’s all start plagiarising in the name of great ads!

  2. He’s used his style to create something bespoke for CW and not any actual content or frames from the original so fair play to him for getting a paying gig. Artists (visual or musical) get commissioned by commerce all the time.
    The reason it grates is it’s more broadly visible nicking (from whassisname) than ‘Cog’ was.

  3. Having not seen the original myself, I don’t share your emotional investment in it, but even if I had, I don’t think it is heinous because the same creator is doing it and it is different and arguably as good as the original.

    In contrast, Berocca’s low rent rip-off of the OK Go’s idea is heinous because it’s so inferior and presumably because the originaters were not involved.

  4. I would be more than happy to have some ad agency come along, look at my VJ work, and ask for something like it, with whatever slant…. And it wouldn’t look that different from my other work… but I’d be ok with that, it’s what they wanted!

  5. On points 5 & 6 (is it lazy, and does it matter?); is it symptomatic of how cheaper tools of creativity change the creative agency model?

    Before t’internet ‘a creative’ couldn’t have made a sample film himself (pricey gear and editing tools etc), then duplicated & distributed it (printing & courier costs) far and wide. So the art of the job was in getting a brief, proposing a route, then executing it on the client’s agreement.

    Now ‘a creative’ can afford to execute lots of ideas, put them ‘out there’ to see what resonates, and clients can look at & choose the approaches they like.

    It’s not lazy, it’s just the process working in a different (more sensible?) order.

  6. I don’t get what’s lazy about it?

    I would have been upset if the company had seen his previous work and then asked someone else to make something like that. But now?

    Well anyway, here you have two other commercials he has made:
    http://www.vimeo.com/ljudbilden

    Have a look!

  7. Don’t want to offend anyone really, but we are talking about advertising here not creativity or art. (by the way the artist here has had it all, which is great).

    It is not in my opinion the advertiser’s job to be purely creative. Isn’t it really their task to communicate in order to sell products? So the advertiser should find creativity anywhere and repurpose it to fit a brand. When they go to the source and the artist can benefit, all the better.

    Surely sometimes an advertiser comes up with great new creativity, but it is incidental.

  8. The use of Minilogue for the music strikes me as lazier than the use of Kristofer Strom. Strom clearly has a highly identifiable style and I can’t see any problem in making use of that. But coupling it with the music again transforms an original piece of animation into another version of the video, which is a bit odd, tbh.

    But who knows – maybe Kris and the Minis are mates and won’t work without the other?

  9. Phew. These comments are mirroring the voices in my head. Which is either good or terrifying.

    I agree with all of you.

    Maybe the role of talent scout is something we should all be looking for…

  10. ‘Talent Scout’ is not a bad description…

    …and what’s nice about it in this instance is that the talent has been connected to a company, rather than ripped off by someone thinking ‘ahh, we like that, we’ll just do it ourselves and bill the client per usual…”

    Talent scouts connect individuals with creative ability to organisations who wish to do something of mutual benefit with that ability.

    Yeah, I like that.

  11. I had the same feeling about the latest Fiat ad a few weeks ago but was less restrained in my response: http://www.rubberrepublic.com/blog/202

    Having read your post I now feel perhaps I over-reacted, afterall why not let consenting adults (agency & artist) mutually benefit from a commercial opportunity.

    But there’s part of me that cannot help but think this has broken something that was once beautiful – By all means borrow, and even if you must steal make it better or at least true to what made it beautiful in the first place.

    Talent scouting should come with certain responsibilities

  12. youtube opens up more places to find talent, but agencies aren’t strangers to “borrowing”.

    BBH- took Flat Eric from a short film
    Wassup for Bud- also came from a short film

    These were probably on reels hanging round the production dept- that creatives stumbled upon.

    Now they’ve got YouTube…

  13. I guess it is a creative conundrum. Not least because I was going to write a bloody blog entry about it ;-)

    I think on one hand it shows a slightly lazy approach by the agency to do something original (not that the video wasn’t, you know what I mean).

    On the other hand I am more relieved that this isn’t another one of those examples whereby an agency has ripped off someone. The artist/animator (for once) has benefited, and that can only be a good thing.

  14. It’s not the advertising creatives’ job to come up with original ideas, just original adverts. But in this case they only borrowed exectution, there’s no idea in the original.

    The work the agency did was to get it sold through to the client and sell phones for Carphone Warehouse. And they did it honourably.

    And they put in an idea! which the original animator didn’t bother doing.

    i’m thinking once digital reaches maturity, (I mean in terms of years, not ability, advertising’s been around the block a few times) you’ll start to see a lot ideas coming back round again.

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