Mexican Riff on Apple Advertising Has Locals Crying Plagiarism

New Televisa Spot Is Target of Local Industry Outrage

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Apple's massively popular "I'm a Mac" campaign has spawned many homages and parodies. But a Mexican ad that lifts its unmistakable format for media conglomerate Televisa has earned withering criticism from the local ad community.

The new spot that resembles the Apple campaign was created by the boutique agency Pico Adworks to launch Yoo, Televisa's new triple-play offer. The film features a cool-looking young girl who starts off by saying in Spanish, "Hello, I'm Yoo." In Spanish "yo" means "me," so it's a word game that would be translated, "Hello, it's me." The girl continues with Yoo's offer: cable, phone and internet, only $40 per month.

Right next to her is a man who claims to personify "the telephone company," obviously referring to Televisa's biggest competitor, Telmex, the leader in the local market. He tries in vain to beat her offer.

The spot looks familiar from its beginning, and everyone in Mexico is saying Pico Adworks openly copied the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" commercials.

Prominent creatives are protesting openly on blogs, Twitter and Facebook, saying this campaign "wounds" local creativity and the Mexican creative community's reputation. Pico Adworks made things even spicier saying on its website, "Every idea comes from an association, analogy or inspiration, and they are never original creations."

One of the biggest admen in Mexico, Marco Colin, former president of Leo Burnett Mexico and the Mexican Association of Advertising Agencies, wrote on his blog: "No creative man who's proud of his profession can possibly celebrate plagiarism. No honest creative man can defend something he steals, or at least he shouldn't do so. The worst thing about this spot is that it wounds Mexican reputation, not only on the advertising terrain, because cliches are evidently based on reality. It's very hard to fight against prejudice when the one who criticizes is given good reasons to do so."

Many say Televisa rolled this out carefully and that the spot is part of a strategy to create buzz around its new offer. Yoo evidently needs to gain more customers before Telmex gets involved in the business of prepaid cable.

In an interview, Daniel Granatta, technological creativity director of Mexican agency Grupo W, said: "Telmex is a giant that many people consume because it's the only available choice. In this case, hitting the nail on the head with a good guerilla campaign in order to earn a fair amount of attention could have been done in less complicated ways. When you start from scratch you got nothing to lose. However, agency and client went for a strategy that can´t even be understood as a tribute or a parody."

Said Raul Cardos, who until recently was president of DDB Mexico: "We work in a market that is creatively stuck, where clients have little trust on their agencies and things like this are very harmful to our industry and to the image, already deteriorated, of Mexican creativity." Mr. Cardos added that it was his father who mentioned the "plagiarism" to him. "And he isn't related in any way to advertising, but he is familiar, just like everyone else, with the Mac campaign. A real pity."

Pico Adworks and Televisa couldn't be reached for comment.

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