Is The BBC Olympics Ad A Rip-Off?

To use the tired old quote, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However the line where it turns from imitation to blatant plagiarism is a blurry one that is often whipped out when two pieces of content appear to be eerily similar.

Witness the latest in the pantheon of “he copied me” accusations. British bank Lloyds TSB ran an ad last year that began the build-up to the Olympic games. It looks like this:

Meanwhile, the BBC has launched the trailer for their coverage of the games, which has some crying foul. Here it is for comparison:

Never mind the fact that both films were created by the same ad agency, does the BBC one rip-off the Lloyds one?

Hardly. There is a similarity to be sure in terms of the look and feel of the spots, but that is only part of the story. Both spots have very different storylines and both have very different messages; the former selling a bank’s social connections, the latter selling an explicit product.

The likely truth is that someone at the BBC like the Lloyds ads and requested the ad agency, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe Y&R to create something similar.

Both videos should further illustrate that similarity does not necessarily mean stolen content.