Apple iPod Nano Spot Eerily Similar to Prior Artistic Work


When it is suggested an agency borrowed a previous idea for creative work, as TBWA\Chiat\Day just did with the Apple Eminem commercial, it's usually dismissed as coincidence. When it happens twice, with the same client, no less, notions of coincidence get chucked out the window. Artist Dane Picard exhibited this video artwork in June at an exhibition in Santa Monica located 15 minutes from the LA offices of TBWA\Chiat\Day. Picard's work, images of hands manipulating various objects in front of a black background is eerily similar to the recent Apple iPod Nano spot, launched a few weeks ago, made up of images of hands manipulating the device against a black background. View the work. Compare it to the Nano spot. Decide. Comment.

by Steve Hall    Oct-26-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Campaigns   

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Ok, just my two cents. I can't say that they really feel that similar. They certainly have similar elements, but at the end of the day it's not that complex of an idea. In other words, the thought of more than one person coming up with the idea of hands showcasing a product in front of a black curtain, is not an improbability.

Posted by: JCole on October 26, 2005 11:45 AM

I agree. There was a childrens tv programme in the 70's in Britain called Itsy and Bitsy where two hand puppets played out against black. If anything, this story just makes me think Dane Picard should try doing more interesting work.

Posted by: jfj [TypeKey Profile Page] on October 26, 2005 1:00 PM

Ridiculous comparison. A jealous industry attacking a great campaign.

Posted by: Paul on October 26, 2005 1:20 PM

This isn't new at all....I remember being 10 (in my 30's) and seeing this on Seasme Street.

Posted by: PKubera on October 26, 2005 1:31 PM

I think if one wants to relate the two at all, then one might accuse the ad campaign of being "inspired" by Picard's work, at most. Picard's work, as I see it is about repetitive movement and the beauty in it's simple, yet complex manipulations (I am trying not to spend too much time analyzing it and I don't know the bakground of it). For the sake of the argument, yes, there are hands on a black background in both (Apple's homage to Picard?), but the similarity stops there. The ad concept is to SHOWCASE the product and the desire of different individuals to ACQUIRE the product (shown by the different hands). They may (or may not) have been inspired by Picard's idea, but they pushed the envelope one (or more) step/s further. Picard is neither showcasing the items in his work OR showing interaction between the hands. I do not agree that it is a blatant "rip-off". Designers get inspired by other art/non-art all the time. Then again, maybe it had nothing to do with him in the first place...I have seen closer similarities in other, unrelated examples...

Posted by: JSanders on October 26, 2005 1:39 PM

Heck - the entire iPod dancing campaign was almost a direct lift from the "Foxy Brown" Main Title.

This is how a remix culture works. Ideas crash into each other.

To cry foul over advertising works is simply silly, or, an attempt to get a dead brand noticed...

Posted by: The Hague on October 26, 2005 1:40 PM

For those of us in design and advertising, we all know that we pull inspiration from everything around us. So what if TBWA/Chiat/Day found inspiration in the work of Dane Picard. If it works and feels good, go with it. Those who criticize, don't get it. If I were Dane Picard, I would feel good that I inspired someone else.

Posted by: Kelly Heisman on October 26, 2005 1:43 PM

Federal laws are clear. You cannot copyright an idea.

Posted by: analogbubblebath [TypeKey Profile Page] on October 26, 2005 1:45 PM

Unlike many others, I don't really think the Nano and iPod spots were that great to begin with...I think a lot of people automatically assume anything Apple does is brilliant. Stylish? Yes. Fun? Yes? Conceptual, mindblowing, memorable? No. There's more of a big idea and smart thinking behind the products than the ads.

Posted by: PAT on October 26, 2005 1:45 PM

There are no new ideas in advertising - everything is stolen, borrowed or copied from somewhere from some point in time

Posted by: Bevo on October 26, 2005 2:11 PM

Hmm. Seems like a non-story to me.
PAT why do you "think a lot of people automatically assume anything Apple does is brilliant"? Just curious...

Posted by: Chidi O on October 26, 2005 2:48 PM

This a bogus claim.

Posted by: John M on October 26, 2005 2:56 PM

Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal.
-Igor Stravinsky

Posted by: daniel on October 26, 2005 3:25 PM

Nah. Similar, sure, but the focus of Picard's stuff is the hands themselves. The focus of the nano spot is (drumroll…) the nano.

Posted by: the bullfrog on October 30, 2005 9:20 PM