Amalgamated Rips 'Virtual Drinking Buddy' Off 'Wrath of Cannes' Winner

mikes-hard-lemonade-drinkingbuddy.jpg

You may remember Robbie Wenger. He won the grand prize at Wrath of Cannes -- yeah, that was him licking the statue -- for Virtual Drinking Buddy, a subsite he created for The Knot.

The theme behind Virtual Drinking Buddy was "never be alone again," and toward that end it provided a classy old boozehound that drinks at your side and occasionally even insults you -- just like a real friend.

Amalgamated/NYC totally ripped the idea for Mike's Hard Lemonade. This spot depicts an excited Mike's employee showing off his latest creation, a lame and repetitive "Mike's Hard Lemonade virtual drinking buddy," to two co-workers at the factory. The watchers get up, shut off the laptop, and walk off, making way for the tagline: "In a world gone soft, someone's got to be hard."

The ad trashes the "virtual drinking buddy," even makes the idea look laughably bad, but still positions it as the invention of a Mike's Hard Lemonade employee. And what are the odds Amalgamated didn't see virtualdrinkingbuddy.com before composing the spot?

The big question is, did Amalgamated deviate from the original concept just enough to avoid censure?

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Comments



Comments

I give your attempt at stirring up drama a F.

Posted by: Frumpy on September 3, 2008 9:30 AM

Me, stir up drama? Never that. Wenger emailed about the rip in an understandably bad mood. I'd be pretty pissed-off too.

Posted by: Angela on September 3, 2008 10:39 AM

I think its parody not plagiarism.

Posted by: Willie on September 3, 2008 5:53 PM

hi. i'm one of the founding partners of amalgamated. in no way are we above stealing ideas around here - but it wasn't the case this time. we really didn't know about robbie's virtual drinking buddy until he emailed us about it after our mike's spot ran.

charles rosen

Posted by: charles rosen on September 4, 2008 4:05 PM

hi. i'm one of the founding partners of amalgamated. in no way are we above stealing ideas around here - but it wasn't the case this time. we really didn't know about robbie's virtual drinking buddy until he emailed us about it after our mike's spot ran.

charles rosen

Posted by: charles rosen on September 4, 2008 4:06 PM

Hi. I am one of the founders of Dead As We Know It, the agency that created the Virtual Drinking Buddy for The Knot whiskey. Robbie was our web producer and did a great job with the concept (bless him!) I just want to make it clear that by no means do we believe that Amalgamated stole the idea. Though we should all feel free to let Robbie think they did and attempt to start a small agency rumble under a bridge somewhere.

Posted by: Mikal Reich on September 5, 2008 1:35 PM

Dear Robbie.

Welcome to advertising, young man. Rightly, you are very impressed with your own amazing ability to concept an idea that people find not only funny, but may actually sell a product. It is a rare talent. However, it is not so rare that there aren't at least several hundred to several thousand other peers who share this talent. And unfortunately, in the course of your career, you'll see similar ideas are not as rare either. You'll find out about something called the 'ether' and something 'uncanny coincidence.' And then you'll also find out about something called 'being blatantly ripped off.'

So will do you good to learn this early on - an idea executed can be more important than the idea itself. And since there really is no way to determine if another ad was an uncanny coincidence or a blatant ripoff, it would probably behoove you to take a deep breath, bite your tongue, and trust your talent. Because, as you will see once your career matures, you too will one day 'create' something that will seem a little close to something already done before. Maybe one that won a scrappy local award for a bunch of mac monkeys who couldn't get a flight to cannes.

That's when you'll say "Hey dude, relax, it's just advertising."

Posted by: Lee Clow's Mentos on September 6, 2008 11:27 AM







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