Category Archives: Copy Cat Packaging

I Confess. I Cheated.


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You’re in school taking the most important and hardest class you’ll ever take.  There’s a lot of pressure because if you make an A you’ll be guaranteed a job.  A B might get you the job depending on how everyone else in the class does.  But you’re pretty confident because you’ve worked harder than your classmates.

First test you make a B.  A few of your classmates make Cs and Ds but the majority make As, and you wonder how they did that.  Soon, you hear that one of your classmates has a copy of all the semester’s tests, obtained perhaps by cleverly hacking into the professor’s computer.  The ones who are cheating ask if you’d like to come over and “study” with them for the next test.  You decline because you don’t want to be a cheater.

You study more than you did for the last test because you know you have to just to keep up.  You end up with a B plus.  They make As again.  They’re contacted by job recruiters.  You are not.  Even some of the ones who made Cs and Ds on the first test are now making As, moving you closer to the bottom of the pack.  You’d like to tell on them, but you have no proof.  Besides, that would really tick off the whole group, and they pretty much detest you anyway for your goody-two-shoes routine.

You do what you have to.  You join them.  You make your A.  You get the job.  You’re financially independent and so happy about that.  You get married and have kids, whose piano and tennis lessons you can pay for thanks to that good job.  Your family is happy.  No regrets.  You and your college buddies laugh about that class years later.

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Copy cat 2010 award of the year goes to Seif El Degwi

The above is screen shoot of the “Artist” Deviant Art page caprozo911 , notice that 85% of his work is either copycat, cliche’ or ghost ads!!! We have featured Seif’s “work” in the past in seperat posts so I will not duplicate the effort. Instead I will just post the links to the above examples from this blog and you can draw your own conclusions.

This is what happens when you copy and paste

Talent for sale

head shot

another #$$ hole

Smoking ghost


Self portrait of the “Designer” wearing his crown with the GAP logo which we all know is an abbreviation of Guy And Proud.

Look out, it’s the ad police





Published in Media Week ME. 26 April 2009. Page: 15. Issue 28.

First I would like to Thank Peter for attempting humor, Media Week for humoring Peter and FP7 for their alleged generosity.

The advertising industry is a serious business and as such warrants proper regulation if it is to thrive.

Related Link:

Seven ‘Kuwait Arabic Advertising Awards’ facts




By Louai Alasfahani

 1-      What is your opinion of the KAAA’s initiative – to be applauded, or pointless?

The KAAA “intended” step towards following the well established practice of Cannes Lions, Dubai Lynx and other reputed creativity awards in withdrawing trophies (from agencies that have been proven to have won with copy-cat, spoof/ghost or cliché ads) is certainly to be applauded – provided KAAA actually takes this crucial first step. Withdrawing only one trophy as an attempt to save the KAAA integrity due to mounting pressure from the industry watch-dog, the IAA Kuwait chapter (sponsors of last year’s KAAA) or as a timely reaction to the increasing publicity on copy-cats in trade publications is not enough. Only the withdrawal of all awarded copy-cat work can save the KAAA integrity and make the effort of combating copy-cat ads meaningful.

2- Shouldn’t agency staff be encouraged to look at others’ work to find inspiration, after all nothing is really original?

In theory – Agency staff are encouraged to look at others’ work to open their minds to the infinite possibilities of creating new artworks. In reality – the copy-cat problem is due to agency staff constantly looking at others’ work, falling in love with others’ work (specially internationally awarded others’ work) copying others’ work then selling it to their clients as their own creations and being awarded for such practice!!! I strongly disagree that “nothing is really original”; this statement is parallel to “there is no new thing under the sun” – Ecclesiastes i:8.Since this is a very long argument; I have summarized my disagreement with fundamental definitions/process of creativity with some quotes to clarify my point:

1-      Creativity by definition of Lateral Thinking: “When a low probability line of thought leads to an effective idea, there is a “Eureka” moment and at once the low-probability approach acquires the highest probability”. – Edward De Bono.

2-      Creativity as a process of Bisociation: “The bringing together of two previously unrelated planes of thought”. (Examples from the art world include one of Picasso’s paintings when he brought together the style of the sculpture of African masks with Paul Cezanne’s brush technique; another example is the portraying of a face in profile together with a full face).(example of daily life is sailing + surfing = windsurfing  another example is glue + Woods Shaving = chipboard) in other words “Creativity is finding new things…or expressing old truths in new ways” – Roger vol Oech.

3- To what degree is copying acceptable in terms of art direction or ideas?

“There are three arts which are concerned with all things: one which uses, another which makes, and a third which imitates them” – Plato. Copying is not acceptable at all in terms of the big-idea/concept however it is tolerable in terms of art direction and technique.
4- Why do you think the region is resorting to copycat work?

The region is resorting to copycat work for a number of reasons; in some occasions for a combination of all the listed reasons:

1-      Lack of self-regulation.  Internationally “aligned/affiliated” agencies have only embraced the international agency “name/logo” but not the more important- international agency “culture”.

2-      Un-sufficient enforcement of copyright laws in the advertising industry.

3-      Rising costs and Lower industry profit margins in the GCC than the developed world.

4-      Quick profit combined with good old fashioned laziness. “Time is money”.  It is much easier, much faster and much more profitable to copy already existing work than to invest time in creating something new and original.

5-      Lost passion. Many professionals have lost their passion for the industry so anything goes. Those who still have passion believe that “When love and skill work together expect a masterpiece” – John Ruskin.

6-      Wining at any cost. Many creative directors have resulted to spoof ads and copy-cat ads to unethically accelerate their carriers on the account of other more talented and deserving individuals – but this will not last.

7-      Lack of knowledge on the part of most clients with regards to copy-cat work which directly effects creative output in this region.(Although clients are not the ones to be blamed).

5- Do you think it is a problem particular to the region?

There is bad news and then there is very bad news; The bad news is – the problem is not particular to this region alone; as evident in blogs and websites dedicated to fighting this problem, examples are (first site in the Middle East dedicated to fighting copy-cats), (author of the world’s first book on copy-cats) and the very bad news is  – only in this region has the problem reached epidemic proportion.

6- Can agencies be better ‘policed’ to ensure copying doesn’t happen, and when it does, who should take the blame?

Agencies can be better policed in a number of ways, such as;

1.     Self-regulation. Each agency can lead by example by reprimanding any member of the agency compromising its integrity with spoofs and copy-cat ads. (Even before the idea/concept is presented to the client for approval). “I would rather fail for attempting to do something different, than just do constantly mediocre work” – Jack Mariucci

2.       If and when self-regulation fails (intentionally or unintentionally) we as industry professionals have the moral obligation to report (with proof) any copy-cat work to the industry governing body – the IAA local chapter ; which in turn will take necessary actions. (An important fact is that many creativity awards are presented in association with the IAA and industry leaders are IAA board members).

3.       In the unlikely event that the IAA local chapter does not take adequate actions then industry professionals can report (with proof) any copy-cat work to their favorite trade magazines which in turn will gladly publish it. (In addition copy-cat work can also be reported to specialized advertising blogs).

4.       If all fails then as a last measurement we as industry professionals can do the client a favor by enlightening them by means of forwarding (with proof) any copy-cat work that has been sold to them by the agency.

It is interesting to note that creative directors constantly complain about clients not embracing creativity in this region, yet manage to sell them copy-cat ads created by a different agency, for a different market, in a different continent many years ago…but continue to blame clients!!! Agencies are paid to create good work not to copy great work. “Imitation is not the most sincere form of admiration but the sincerest form of thievery”.

7- Do clients really care if work is copied if it works for their brand and doesn’t clash with anything locally?

Clients entrust agencies in producing original, creative, relevant artworks that sells products and services and are not aware they are paying for copied work.  (It is not a client responsibility to investigate the work copied by an agency). Yes, clients do care if work is copied; even if it works for them they would shift their account to another agency. To put the theory to the test publish some examples of copy-cat ads then call those clients for an opinion 😉


Jorge Frascara. Communication Design Principles, Methods, and Practice. Allworht Press, 2004.

Frank Jefkins. Advertising Third Edition. M+E Handbooks. 1994.

John Townsend & Jacques Favier The Creative Manager’s Pocketbook.

Alastair Campbell The Designer’s Lexicon.

Capsule. Design Matters.


Keep (T)alking

Mazen Fayad

Mazen M. Fayad, Executive Creative Director, JWT Kuwait

“On behalf of JWT Kuwait, JWT creative team and myself I would like to congratulate all the winners at the KAAA especially agency/network of the year FCB Horizon.


Although JWT Kuwait harvested 10 awards (4 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze), we were surprised that none of the work that was celebrated at the regional and international ceremonies (New York Festivals, Dubai Lynx and Mena Cristal) had won. Then again, while international recognition means a lot to us, being respected and admired locally shows that our work is well-targetted and relevant to our business, our clients and our immediate consumers.

On that front, and I’m sure you would all agree with me that the level of advertising including those we had won is still not up to all our desired standard. Is it because of the nature of the market? Is it because of the budget factors? Is it because we are not up to the international level? Is it because we have conformed to the status quo? Or is it because of the qoz? Frankly, we have the tendency of turning all these questions into invalid excuses but at the end of the day we all want to produce great work.

So let’s do it!

As creative directors, we owe it to our talents to bring out the best in them. If they can’t do it on their restricted briefs, let them do it pro-actively. This is their motivation – and trust me we would all be surprised (even on the business side). So let’s not bash one another for what was released and what was not and what is ghost and what is not, instead, let’s celebrate good ideas wherever they come from and raise the standard of the industry we work. Because on any given night, winning another award is not as orgasmic as winning the one we are all proud of”.


The above great speech bestowed upon us by the great creative leader of his time sounds convincing at first; but a closer examination of “his” creativity many of which are featured on this blog brings us to the conclusion that it is not enough to talk the talk…you should also walk the walk…so either practice what you preach or…keep walking.

NB. Why were the comments off for this post on the source? One way communication!!!