Not flattered, just cross

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but flattered is not what I’m feeling.

Here’s the story.  For several years, we’ve been running brilliant, multiple-award-winning, highly-successful ads for the children’s savings scheme Jump, based on the Witan investment trust.  Here’s a link to some of the work:  (Click on the left and right arrows to see it.)

Over the same period, Witan’s much bigger rival, F&C, has been running a wide variety of different, but universally horrible, ads for its equivalent product.  Very recently, they’ve launched a new and characteristically horrible campaign – but the funny thing is, it’s unmistakeably a wonderfully incompetent and fourth-rate rip-off of our Jump work.  To prove the point I’ve had to take a crash course in uploading images, and hopefully I’m about to insert them here.

 First F&C ad

F&C ad 2

 I mean, honestly, they’re exactly what you’d get if you asked people who can’t write or design and who’ve never actually met any children to imitate our campaign.

You may be surprised that such extraordinarily blatant plagiarism goes on.  But the truth is, there’s no law against it – the only real reasons not to copy other people’s campaigns are boring old things like professional pride and decency.  And as far as those kinds of qualities are concerned, my expectations from F&C are not high.  Their marketing director, as I think I’ve told you before, is the chap I introduced to F&C, which was then a client, when he was out of work:  when they offered him the job, my reward for making the introduction was to find ourselves facing an immediate repitch for the business, which we promptly lost to the agency he had worked with at his previous firm before he had been made redundant.  Several years later, I still think of this as the shabbiest behaviour I’ve personally experienced in 30 years in this business, although I appreciate that may simply mean I’ve led a sheltered life.

Anyway, thanks to my particular leisure interests, I’ve just enjoyed a largish measure of revenge for all this.  F&C are the shirt sponsors for the Birmingham City football team.  Last week they came to White Hart Lane, home of the mighty Spurs, and we won, 2-1, with the winner coming with the last kick of the match in the fifth minute of stoppage time.  They really hurt, those last-minute defeats.

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