Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Okay, So There's Another Ad With A Drumming Gorilla

Did Juan nick the idea? And if yes, is that a problem?

In my opinion, he's probably never seen it, and it's definitely not a problem.

Why? Because an idea is not the same thing as a piece of film. An idea is the connection between the images and the product.

Example: take the footage for Guinness 'Surfer', and change the endframe to 'Visit Cornwall' (Note for non-Brits, Cornwall is a UK surfing destination). Now the ad is predictable and quite shit. Because what makes it great is (among other things) the unexpected connection between surfing and Guinness.

The connection between a drumming gorilla and a shop having a sale is quite unexpected, I grant you. Actually I quite like the ad, though the execution is v. shonky. But it's nowhere near as interesting - or dare I say it profound - as the link Juan creates between a drumming gorilla and a bar of chocolate.


Anonymous said...

weird though, isn't it, that there is also a film on youtube, that predates 'balls' by some years, of bouncing balls being released down a hill in san francisco?

Anonymous said...

amateurs imitate, professionals steal.

originality is determined by the obscurity of your influences.


why are ad folks so preoccupied with "originality"?
and always in such a teenage gotcha! way.

there was a famous guinness commercial in the early 80s that aired in ireland. it was called "surfer". it featured a guy surfing on a settling pint of guinness. Tom and walt would have been in school then. they would have seen it.

was it the impetus for their "surfer"? i doubt it.

Anonymous said...

Does it matter if he nicked it? Of course it does. Are you really Juan Cabral masquerading as Scamp from BBH? And if he didn't see it and nick it the fact that another ad so similar exists mean that it will have points deducted (along with points already dedcuted for being similar to Magic FM's drumming baby). So for the Cadbury big idea I award 8/10. For the drumming gorilla execution I award 5/10

Anonymous said...

I love the Cadbury drumming gorilla ad. It's brilliant. And because another ad exists it doesn't make it any less brilliant as Scamp rightly points out, because of the connection between the visual and product message. However, because another drumming gorilla ad does exist the cadbury ad can't then be considered original. I wonder then will it win anything at Cannes or D&AD - after all they award originality. Right?

Anonymous said...

@anon 1.14

"points deducted"? points deducted by whom? the viewing public? no.

a bunch of anal-retentive ad guys? perhaps.

sincere thanks for your marks. i hope someone cares.

adios amigos!

Anonymous said...

I don't get it.
We spend our working lives longing for the ideal scenario where the client actually buys the risky idea and respects our advice.

As soon as someone gets away with it, some people starts shitting all over them.

I agree with Scamp, the only criteria should be, does it work? So far it's has attracted lots of attention and it hasn't even been a week since it aired.

Anonymous said...

agree with j. ad people seriously need to relax and get some perspective on what we do and how it's received by the general public.

this pedantic hair-splitting about "originality" is absurd. adland's biggest problem is not the lack of original ads. it's the lack of ideas that are in any way remotely interesting or exciting. and that stand some chance of competing with the avalanche of great stuff we see every day from youtube et al.

do you seriously think Sr. Cabral spends his days combing youtube for ideas to rip off on behalf of his high-profile clients? if so you have no idea what his life is really like.

Anonymous said...

just watched it. come on! monkeys drumming...wasn't there a wind up toy like that too? pleeease! you can't be serious.

monkeys/apes have done just about everything in ads over the years. they're a comedic convention at this point.

what they (the simians) have hitherto NOT DONE is do the drum solo from "in the air tonight". and that is the idea in THIS commercial. specifically that. that was the idea.

Alan Wolk said...

The interweb has made it very easy to find the "inspiration" of just about every spot ever done.

Whichever one of the anonymii posted that this spot isn't about a monkey drumming, but rather about a particular gorilla drumming to a particular Phil Collins song from the 80s in a particular way, is correct.

We had a similar debate about a campaign Goodby did for US cell phone carrier Sprint (I think you all call them "mobiles")


We work in advertising. We rarely create things. We just adapt things in clever ways and make them our own. (Or our brands. Take your pick.)

Anonymous said...

Let me get this right. So some of you are saying it's ok to make an ad that's been done before (whether intentional or not) and that we shouldn't think less of any ads that do this? So what does everyone think, for instance, about the M&C Saatchi MFI ads which are a complete rip off/unfortunately the same as Crispin Porter Bogusky's Ikea campaign?

proxikid said...

hasn't everything been done before?
all we can do is do it better and apply it to less predictable products, get some buzz around it and attention. the rest doesn't matter.
it's not fine art. no one should really be jurdged on originality of inspiration, but on exectution and relation to the product.
it's not art for arts sake. it's comercial art. and it's here to sell- brand, product, whatever.

Anonymous said...

2:23 PM Anonymous

So you DO know how Sr. Cabral's life really is? Are you his wife?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Cheeky bastard. I knew he had a spy over here.

Anonymous said...

Of course there are no new ideas, but there's a difference between two different people working alone having the same insight into something and someone else taking almost the same execution to slap on another brand.

This one is just a guy in an obvious suit playing poorly, which is why it's so funny, while the Cadbury one seems like one of those touching moments Coke or Bud go for during their Super Bowl spots.

These two below also do the same thing: nearly identical execution for different purposes:

Fallon's Travelers spot and Duval-Guillaume's AIDS spot.

RFB said...

A string of skate/clothing shops in Canada using a drumming gorilla was probably inspired by the word APEX on the kick drum. I like him. He's energetic and happy - and completely out of place.

As for the Cadbury ape - he disturbs me. Then again, that might just be the pretentious build-up of that horrific Collins song, which the world was doing quite fine without. Seeing it once was plenty for me.

Anonymous said...

"in a work of genius, execution becomes content."

bill bernbach said that. him what started ddb.

Anonymous said...

I want to agree. I really do. But it's this that makes me unable to:

"An idea is the connection between the images and the product."

Is the connection between the ape and Cadbury's so profound? Would we still think so if we knew this idea had been kicking around as a film long before Cadbury's was there to bankroll it?

Anonymous said...

OK, for whatever reason, you're leery of the gorilla/chocolate connection. what would you have them do?

product demonstrations of cadbury? smiling people in "fun" slice of life situations enjoying a square of the wonderful chocolate. some "comedy" spot perhaps based on the truths of chocs?

this ad is clearly intended to provoke discussion. if it fitted the familiar pattern there'd be nothing to talk about. would there?

you know what i heard? it's actually phil collins in the gorilla suit. now that would be funny.

Anonymous said...

"An idea is the connection between the images and the product."

did bill bernbach say that too?

well you have to remember it was said in 1960s new york. things have moved on a bit since then.

Scamp said...

Not Bill Bernbach, David Hume. But that's another story.

Anonymous said...

I'm all up for a phil collins revival - but is the connection between phil gorilla and dairy milk really that strong? Just because somebody make the vague reference to joy? All seems incredibly tenuous to me. It's all in the execution, which is grrreat. Umpteen products could own this. And what's next?

Anonymous said...

A few people have mentioned the Magic FM drumming baby. They also did another ad using the same Phil Colins track.


Still, original or not, I like it. Animals + music sells just about anything as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

i think this spot is revealing a bit of a generational fault line in the ad community

there's the more traditional: "what-the-hell -has-a-drumming-gorilla-got-to-do-with-chocolate? it-could-have-been-done-for-any-brand! " take.

then there's the more modern attention-at-any-price-it's-the-age-of-the-interwebs-not-the-1950s-stick-your-USP-up-yer-arse-grandad camp.

Anonymous said...

fek me. if it's been quoted then its ok and if not, well you and your brand are screwed. What is this obsession with using ad men from the land that time forgot to justify or qualify an ad? Why don't we concentrate more on what's happening now, because frankly, Mr Bernbach et al would be lost in this day and age.

Sorry but this is all becoming a load of tripe.

The only people who need/want to get this are planners and researchers so they can develop a new model that might equip them with the ability to create something as inpsiriational and impactful themselves.

gorilla + phil collins = joy to watch

cadbury = chocolate = joy to eat.

This is a gem for two reasons:

1. Its not nu-folk shite being played against a sunny utopia that kinda resembles London, but isn't...

2. Phil Collins is the daddy. Period.

What's there to get. Oh and it's changed the conversation from aren't Cadbury's contaminated/losing money to 'was that a gorilla playing the drums..'

Simple stuff really.

Anonymous said...


you speak the truth. but it's never a good idea to dis historical knowledge. how else can you know what's going to happen next?

Jesús Revuelta said...


Anonymous said...

Let's not be too hasty. This now gives us all licence to steal from pretty much anywhere. When someone rejects your scripts on the basis that "It's been done before" we can simply say that Juan Cabral does it. Et Voila! Ad sold and creatives swilling champagne by the pool at the Nelly.

Anonymous said...

Snr. Cabral's drumming gorilla rocks. Literally. Modern TV advertising can't work the way it did in the 50s, 60s or even the 80s. This ad makes me feel nice about Cadbury's for a short time. Job done.

But back to the original point of this thread... well, 'stealing' is pretty low. But having seen Cabral present his 'balls' work – and the way others took it, played with it and put it back on the Web – I can't believe he'd deliberately plagiarise. Or maybe he's just a good liar. He's a creative director (sorry "partner") after all!

Anonymous said...

As an artist I've been involved in advertising from conception to finalisation and I really take offence at the p****s who say (in a mewling pitiful voice) theres nothing original... I HAVE BEEN COMING UP WITH ORIGINAL IDEAS ALL MY LIFE you tossers!!! How dare you impune my profession and you know what ? It is usually the w*****s who have only one brain cell working who speak like that factory fodder & office mice, tell you what boys go stuff each other and leave the ads to the experts.
Question...having seen the ad ONCE do you think ANYONE will not remember what its for...huh ? No...? Then it works does it not?
Success and worth every penny it cost.
No doubt someone will denigrate my reply
To paraphrase Mr D Sutherland 'too many negative vibes man'

Anonymous said...

Juan did not steal the idea from this.
The conceits are entirely different. Watching that would have probably put him off.
I know how he got the idea, I was with him at the time, air drumming to Phil Collins. Absurd but true.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The pressure on Fallon to consistently over deliever is huge, and i doubt Juan spends his days on youtube searching whether an idea has been done before.

For advertising haters out there, you could type a number of combinations of different things (in this instance - gorilla and drum) into google and always find some 'influence'.

HOWEVER...The interesting side to this is that it was an ad. All the creatives i know are ad saavy, they're not dumb. Just like a film director loves films, they (in most cases) love interesting/unsual/good ads and chances are they've already seen it. Not just ads aswell, a good creative naturally builds up a huge knowledge and friend list of directors/artists/illustrators/designers (hence the 'subconcious' influences of play-doh and cog).
It's one of the main attractions of the job, to be working with and consistently seeing whats in and out of vogue. (I know it was for me).

Personally i compare against other ads, and if it has been done, i leave it alone, unless you can significantly improve on it.

Only a creative director has the balls and short time span to stop worrying about this crap and just get the damn thing sold.


Anonymous said...