Office Cubicle Creative Gets Ripped Off Again


Confirming the well known fact that there are no more new ideas and that the sincerest form of flattery in advertising is to copy another's work, Starbucks is the second company, after Netscape, to copy the office cubicle microsite thing, apparently originated by Hostway in April. Now, for those who like to snoop, yes, Starbuck's version of the office cubicle site, called DoubleShot, resides on a site that was registered way back in 1998 but an informant tell us the cubicle creative was recently launched. No doubt, Adrants readers will correct any errors in this assumption.

The site itself has all the usual stuff from a lame video to a picture of parents that say "hello" to a gadget sweepstakes to voice mail messages to a ceiling darts to a number you can call to reach "Hank" who, of course, isn't answering. It's all been done before. Done. Done. Done. But, why is it that we spent so much time on the site engaging in "brand immersion" as those account management types like to call it? maybe the office cubicle is the new :30. Hey, the :30 worked forever. Why not the office cubicle?

by Steve Hall    Jul-29-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Creative Commentary, Online   

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It's nice to see they went so far as to 'borrow' the Hostway cubes blurred transitions. Classy.

Posted by: william on July 29, 2005 11:29 AM

The idea of exploring a space is in itself not really anything new, but this Starbucks site is shockingly unoriginal. What seemed like plagiarism on the part of Netscape now seems mild in comparison to this monstrosity. The pan-and-scan browsing method, the zoom transitions, the rollover sound effects, even the messages on the phone/voicemail are complete knock-offs of Bob's Cube features. But this site, like most imitations, completely misses the mark: the key to successful viral content is in rich and memorable experiences, and that is what Doubleshot is expressly lacking. It has the makings of a Bobscube, without any of the substance or ingenuity.

Posted by: Matt on July 29, 2005 11:29 AM

Great post, Matt. As the Marketing Manager for Hostway, I'm flattered that big brands like Starbuck's enjoy our marketing so much that they feel compelled to copy it. However, it's disconcerting that some big brands have such a lack of creativity that they would rather dilute their viral marketing campaigns (not to mention ours) by blatantly ripping off something that's already been done. We are extremely proud of the experience we created with Bob's Cube. Our experience is rich enough to compel people to spend extended periods of time on the site, yet smart enough to weave our marketing messages into the site's storyline without being annoying.

Posted by: Drew on July 29, 2005 12:52 PM

Yeah - I loved Bob's Cube - but this one is... I don't know why someone would send it to anyone. There's no personality to it, no risk.

We're doing an office viral right now, but it's a pretty different concept. Not watered down at all - we have a zombie and a gorilla. Also, people die. Hopefully y'all like it better than the Buck's site. Look for it Sept. 1.

Posted by: Sean MacPhedran on July 29, 2005 9:44 PM

Escape from your cubicle is all I can say!

Posted by: danny bloom on July 30, 2005 7:54 AM

These rip-offs, though stale and much less effective than Bob's Cube, are really just a testament to the genius behind the original concept. 15 Letters (, the design team responsible for Bob's Cube, is an upcoming firm that must be doing something right if its ideas are surfacing in campaigns for companies like Starbucks and Netscape.

Posted by: Mike on August 1, 2005 11:43 AM