17. Inspiration and Originality

It’s pretty ballsy to try to revamp something that’s already been done. There’s such a high percentage of failure, especially if the first one gained a large amount of popularity. The dodge ram 2013 superbowl commercial did just that. In order to tap into its audience of hands-on, tough working people, the people at The Richards Group in Dallas, Texas were inspired by an oldie but goodie.

However, the definition of “inspired” is foggy here. Are you still only “inspired” by something if you essentially make the same exact thing? Both videos use the voiceover from Paul Harvey’s 1978 “So god made a farmer” speech, delivered to the Future Farmers of America. They both use still photography of American farmers and their work, slideshow style. The only real difference, besides the fact that one ends with “Dodge,” is the quality of the photographs—which, according to texasmonthly.com, were taken by highly regarded commissioned photographers

The ad was a huge hit—the superbowl audience loved it, and it got great reviews on social media. However, the advertising world brought into question the creativity of the work. The pictures were better…so what?

To me, it’s a cop-out. Most people watching the super bowl wouldn’t have seen the farm.com version, so Dodge was able to touch the same level of emotion that the original video received without the claims of “copycat.”

Even though Dodge is apparently working with Farms.com to raise money for the FFA, the ad doesn’t cut it for me. There needs to be a level of originality that all ad agencies are held to. Referencing the old video is fine, but this is just too similar. Even simply using videos instead of stills would have cut it for me.

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