Thursday, February 07, 2008

More Jury Gossip - This Time About Gorilla

Juan Cabral, at last year's Pantene awards

When the ad first came out, a lot of people felt they'd seen drumming gorillas before. Or at least drumming babies (Magic FM).

I went on record to say I didn't believe Juan had lifted the idea from YouTube.

But I was wrong.

Jury gossip reveals he originally presented the idea in the form of a YouTube clip.

Not only that, but he had previously presented it to Cinzano (in Argentina), who didn't bite.

Please please please let's not have the originality debate again.


Have an efficient filing system for your rejected work, because a lot of briefs come up time and time again (this product is simple to use, this product is inexpensive, or in the case of Cadbury's - this product will make you happy).

And have an efficient storage area for funny photos, YouTube clips, news articles - things that one day you may be able to make into an ad. Because as someone once said, "the worst time to be looking for an idea is when you actually need one."


Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

You don't ask a musician whether that riff in their new song was written in 2008 or 1998.

Any creative medium will recycle ideas or alter failed ideas into working ones. That is the very nature of the creative process.

Anonymous said...

the plot thickens...

Anonymous said...

Anybody who says they haven't recycled an idea is probably either lying or has a selective memory. But Juan Cabral is only like, 16 years old or something... Is he running out of new ideas already?

(yes, i am jealous)

Anonymous said...

Show a creative director, planner, client something so truly original that there is no reference for it and see them turn your idea down. What sane business person would approve something without a clue what it is going to be like?

Have reference is one of scamp's top tips. But the very presence of ref immediately makes it unoriginal. Thogh it does make it buyable

Cabral just had good ref. He's rich, the client's happy. Who's the mug? Me that's who.
*starts surfing youtube and plans ways to blow all the cash*

Anonymous said...

I prefer it when the penis thickens.

I also like a glass and a half of happiness, if you get my drift.

Mark McGuinness said...

I like the sound of 'The Cinzano Gorilla'.

Maybe it's not as good in Spanish.

Anonymous said...

Taking an idea from your bottom drawer is perfectly acceptable. Taking an idea from another ad on you tube is not. Right? I think we'll all be looking very closely at Juan's next ad to see if we can spot where it's come from

Anonymous said...

the thicks plotten...

Anonymous said...


but let's have no more talk about being "creative" then...and certainly not "creative genius". let's talk instead of our application skills. anyone who advocates this as a practice doesn't value creativity - they value advertising. they value 'dressing creative' and money. take the massive salaries and the glory from campaign.

but this is not creative. it is not artistic. if anything, it is the enemy of creativity. it is cynical and gives advertising a bad name. i wonder how much money the person who came up with idea (you know, the talented one) got paid.

the worst time to have to have an idea is when you need one? that's the creative part of the job.

advertising is becoming the enemy of art. and it's beattie's babies that are making it happen.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

We are problem solvers. Not artists.

Why wouldn't we use any means to solve a problem?

Art, youtube, porn, who cares? We get paid to make those things work as solutions.

Juan did that. If you ask Cadbury's, they'll tell you he delivered.

If he gets a slice of the money he's made for sony and cadbury, good for him.

If we had more Gorillas around, good work would be much easier to sell - and there wouldn't be so much frustrated owners of unborn Black Pencils and 100k salaries gathering dust in bottom drawers.

Anonymous said...

agree with j. anyone who thinks advertising's biggest problem is a lack of originality is on crack. advertising's biggest problem is 99% of it is boring shite about products nobody gives a toss about.

we create shiny things intended to momentarily distract people so we can sell them something. that's a very long way from art.

Unknown said...

it´s communication, the comercial one. it´s about being noticed and valued. it´s about building that. it´s about how you solve that and other specific problems. so it´s about planning and strategy. but it´s always about creativity. and don´t forget that it´s about certain brands talking to certain people. some say it´s starts with observation. others that it´s about toilets. or sometimes it may be about youtube and then other times it may be about toilets, and here´s the interesting part, with a nice steamy shit. because there´s nothing like a nice hot steamy shit said Chinaski. yes, it´s about thinking. because in the end it´s about ideas.

nothing like solving problems over a hot steamy shit. gorilla!

Anonymous said...

Well I don't have a probelm at all with advertising being inspired by or interpereting things. Though I do feel, as a creative, it your job to put your own original thinking enough into it.

The big question is with our creative awards and with just the term 'creative' and what you put into your work:

Do we reward people for 'Creativity' or for 'Creative appropriation'?

That's a big issue, and that will always be the issue.

Anonymous said...

Oh wait - nevermind, if the orginal 'gorilla playing drums' youtube clip was his, just picthed to someone else first, then I don't know how anyone could have a problem with this? It's still his idea. Everyone uses bottom drawer ideas.

Lunar BBDO said...

I once did an ad with the words 'your name here' written on a blue plaque with a red background and the words 'The Economist' in white in the corner.

I didn't originally come up with: blue plaques, the word 'your', the word 'name', the word 'here', the colour red, the colour white, the word 'the' or the word 'Economist'.

I stole them all.

Accusers of unoriginality, please take your argument to its logical conclusion and spend your days in a hermetically-sealed vacuum where nothing exists other than the products of the brain you have wiped back to a blank slate.

Then show me your drumming gorilla.

Unknown said...

naughty, naughty boy! no, no youtube! no! feel bad. feel bad you saw a gorilla drumming. feel bad for making a wonderful commercial. you naughty, naughty creative little boy!

is there a superego in this industry? who is it?

Anonymous said...

Who reckons Juan looks like Dawson, from Dawson's Creek?

Anonymous said...

Lunar BBDO. You didn't see that Economist idea in another ad on YouTube though did you?

Anonymous said...

Nice one Juan. You've been rumbled for stealing from another ad. Not a piece of art (like Play Doh) or the Letterman Show (like Sony Balls) but another ad

yank said...

you brits are funny. you take the business of advertising so seriously.

Anonymous said...

There's a whole bunch of smarmy ad 'creatives' who think it is right to completely ripoff other people's work, to enter fakes into shows, or to backstab to get ahead.

It's not literature or medicine, but you ARE a professional right?

Sure, it's just advertising, but have just a little personal honor. Make real ads, give credit where due, don't cheat, don't steal ideas. Have a little bit of pride in coming up with your own ideas that aren't clearly just refashioned. Or is it that so hard for you?

I'm not accusing this ad of being a ripoff or not - just responding to some of these comments.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Just chill out for Christ's sake. It's just bloody advertising. It's a terrible blood sucking stupid job that doesn't actually involve 'creativity'.

Be a sculptor, composer, painter. Hell, politics is more creative than advertising.

Anonymous said...


Shouldn't you lot be out there catching real thieves?

Or rapists.

Whatever you've got time for.

Pass the donuts.

Anonymous said...

Well that at least explains why I feel no differently about Cadbury's or want to buy some chocolate after seeing that ad. It's because it's not even an ad for Cadbury's. This is lazy practice people. Loads of people will defend it because so many people do it - but it is lazy thinking. Sorry. The gorilla has become famous because it IS a great, striking piece of film in its own right. Is it a great ad? No way Jose. Hits don't mean shit if it ain't doing a job.

Anonymous said...

Re Lunar BBDO @10.03:

I could tell you this since your sitting opposite me, but your busy looking for ideas on you tube, but once upon a time my old copywriter and I did an ad for Wrigley’s where a man brought up a rancid dripping dog. It was a trick my dad used to do at Christmas when I was a kid.

So hands up, I nicked the idea too.

Anonymous said...

"Gorilla" is great advertising because it resulted in more yummy Cadbury's chocolate being sold. And that's the point isn't it?

Snr Cabral seems to have the knack of producing engaging bits of film that get talked about – and not just about us advertising twats – but by ordinary people. And the result so far seems to be elusive combination of increased sales for the client and a juicy retainer for the bloke that builds awards cabinets at Fallon.


Now, so far, he hasn't created a great campaign, like 'Heineken refreshes' or 'White on Red' of the Economist. Maybe nobody's asked him to. Or maybe he gets inspiration from little one-off moments on YouTube that won't stretch into a 'Big Idea'.

Whatever. He's young. Let's see if he's still doing the same stuff in 5 years time. Then we can really get upset about it.

Anonymous said...

""Gorilla" is great advertising because it resulted in more yummy Cadbury's chocolate being sold. And that's the point isn't it?"

I don't think it did sell lots of yummy Cadbury's chocolate - that is exactly my point - that IS the point of advertising. Unless someone has some new definitive figures that proves otherwise - the last ones I saw show a modest increase in line with what you would expect from any brand just being on television with any kind of message. I think Juan is a talented chap, I think that that balls ad was a cracking ad for a colour television, but I do not think that the gorilla ad is a good piece of advertising. Sorry for being out of fashion again.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Wrong Side of the Tracks, but 9% year-on-year sales increase is pretty impressive in such a saturated (fats) market.

Did you see what I did there? Eh? Chocolate? Saturated fats? Never mind.

More here:

Anonymous said...

Just think what it could have been with an advertising idea that people (not adfolk) actually associate with the product (ref: Heineken refreshes, miller time, hamlet etc etc etc.) ...hey I know I am from the wrong side of the tracks again here so I'm bowing out...

Anonymous said...

If Juan Cabral wanted to replicate the drumming gorilla and DIDN'T hire the guy who came up with it to direct it and/or give credit then he stole from them. simple as that. like as if he stole their car. or their wallet. and then told them to f**k off.

ideas get adapted all the time by TV, film etc. there is nothing wrong with that so as the people concerned a) agree to the adaptation of their idea and b) get frigging paid.

and if drumming gorilla boosted sales of cadburys then opinions of it as an ad are rendered moot. you can't argue with numbers.

Anonymous said...

Great ad. Funny ad. Successful ad. An ad worthy of praise for those reasons.

Though not very creative, groundbreaking, or award-worthy (besides an Effie) since it is a straight-up lift from someone else's work.

Agreed? Sounds fair to me.

Love how people say it's 'just advertising' and 'who gives a shit' yet they're reading this blog, working in the industry, and most likely really do care but think it sounds more intelligent to pretend like they don't.

Damiano said...

Beyond the recycling of ideas...isn't the point that we (and the brands) have to realize that the consumer is the power now and they/us can decide what to watch, when and where so whatever we create has to be so far beyond advertising. Our ideas have to be compulsive and engaging enough to be remarkable, so we all spread it on free thro. online and offline WOM, so it counting as a success when it goes beyond it's niche audience (UK market for Gorilla), and breaking out and scaling around the world primarily through online. There are over 200 mash ups of Gorilla on youtube and countless other video sites. What does that say about our new world of audience participation where brands have to relinquish control of their brand image and let the prosumer trust, enhance and ultimately spread their brand message? Even the marketing guru Tom Peters’ blog commented on Gorilla which has a huge and influential audience...irony being it cost nothing in media spend, they just found it entertaining.

This leads me on to my next point that agencies have to compete with everyone now in the online content space and should fast invest in all kinds of ideas (from not just creatives, but from scriptwriters, film directors, game designers, actors, musicians, TV producers) whatever the talent, the cost, the length and less in traditional ad media spend. Although it has it's merits in the live events arena and isn't going to go away soon, in reality, we all know we all ignore or skip or just don't watch it as much.

As I said the (young and increasing older) consumer (prosumer?) is in control, and you have to trust them to comment,
Seen this?

Consumer generated ad destruction of SONY PS3 (song)
To spread the content, that means giving them entertainment (not advertising) that they're going to talk about, enjoy, embed and ultimately value. It's obvious. Whose making it obvious to the brands? Is it all the new net start ups, new tech coms, search companies meshing their tech and ideas that are eating away at the trad. ad world with no baggage or history of trad. ad models? Or is it the traditional ad agencies trying to shoehorn their old profitable ad models into this new liberating, uncontrollable, exciting online world where it's not just ideas but a future where the knitting of new tech, brands and ideas (Nike +) that matter and where now, within reason, you can quite literally try anything?
Even as your own brand, which you are, who or whatever you plagiarize, I, like everyone within and increasing out of the industry, will continue to follow your engaging imaginative exploits. Rock on Juan.

Anonymous said...

I’ve saved ideas that a client didn’t want to try, especially for use later with other brands in the same category.

Anonymous said...

damiano is right. if long-winded. ;-)

the online torrent of phenomenally interesting stuff is tough for anyone to compete with. but that's the game now. you just have to be phenomenally interesting. all the time.

traditional advertising only trains one to be slightly interesting.

gorilla made it over the first fence. it's a decent sized hit.

Anonymous said...

Damiano: Beyond the recycling of ideas, edit. Simplify.

Competing with everything on youtube is one thing. Outright copying is another. If the original wasn't his, then what he did was wrong whether it worked or not. If the original was his, then he did nothing wrong.

This is not a question of effectiveness, it's a question of professional integrity.

Anonymous said...

See 2:14...OMG.

Did they see that ad too?

Anonymous said...

we live in a cut and paste world. stealing and remixing flavours is possible now in a way it just wasn't ten years ago. so it will and should happen more and more.

remember the old saying: originality is determined by the obscurity of one's influences. truer than ever. only now it's harder to hide your influences.

for me the funny part of all this is that the cadbury's gorilla ad is no more inventive or exciting than a Russ Abbott sketch. And i don't mean that as a diss to Russ. He made a lot of people laugh.

Unknown said...

does all this have anything to do with COPYLEFT? contextually speaking.

Anonymous said...

'lime i the coconut'

Harry Nilsson

john dodds said...

Have been away so this is a belated response to rjhayter's suggestion that 9% year on year increase in sales is a big deal. That all depends on whether the previous year saw sales reduced for an abnormal reason (such as a salmonella outbreak).

Anonymous said...

rumour has it mr. cabral is not such a big fan of this blog after this post...

Scamp said...

I hope that's not true, because this blog is a big fan of Mr Cabral's.

The only thing I don't like about him is that he makes the rest of us look bad.

faris said...

brand neutral creative

Scamp said...

Ouch. There's a lot packed into those 3 words, Faris. What can I say in defence of my creative brethren? Perhaps this... the view that an ad is meant to go perfectly with a brand and can be for that one brand only is a romantic one, but surely as inaccurate as the idea that there is only one person out there for everyone!

Anonymous said...

Bit late on this blog so I'm not sure anyone will even read this, but I can't help feeling that we're missing the point. Whether or not it is morally right to copy someone else's idea is a personal choice - like raping babies. But we're forgetting how a whole new generation of people are consuming ads. They see an ad they like and then google or youtube it, and more than likely that search will take you to the place where the ad was stolen/ inspired. If you're like Honda and your whole brand strategy is about innovation then that's really dangerous. Take the latest problem playground. Within a few days there were links to Rubiks Cubism (an artist that already existed and was probably not involved in the ad), blogs lead you to other examples of Honda's artistic thievery (however justified they are) a link to some chemical engineers who pointed out the whole thing is bollocks because making a hydrogen powered car is easy, it's separating the hydrogen that creates more CO2 blah blah blah. Within half an hour you're seeing Honda as a bunch of brain child raping charlatans. It's not long before the new generation earn enough money to buy a reasonably priced low emission hatch back. We're all going to have to get smarter with our sources.