A Well-Intended Rip-Off's Still a Rip-Off, Frankly


Check out this "Awareness Test" for Transport of London. The goal is to demonstrate that a driver can't avoid obstacles s/he doesn't expect to see. For people who've never seen the video before, it probably comes across as a neat way to deliver the message.

The problem is, there are plenty of people who have already seen something similar -- likely this video, which was put together in 1999 by Professor Daniel Simons of the University of Illinois.

The videos sparked a copyright debate between WCRS and Professor Simons. He said he liked the goal of the campaign, but would have collaborated with the agency to find an "awareness test" more appropriate to their purposes if they contacted him instead of just ripping off his idea.

The debacle was put to our attention by Scamp, who in closing asks, "if the goal of the ad is to save lives, as in this case.... should we really feel so bad?"

by Angela Natividad    Mar-21-08   Click to Comment   
Topic: Cause, Commercials, Opinion, Video   

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He's not from Harvard, he's from the University of Illinois.

And it wasn't Scamp that raised the issue at all. Scamp posted the ad, unaware of the rip-off, and the debate started in the comments.

Posted by: MB on March 23, 2008 1:42 PM

The school's been corrected. As for whether Scamp raised the issue, we didn't say he did. We said he brought it to our attention.

Posted by: Angela on March 23, 2008 2:49 PM

In fact, the rip-off began with a Sainsbury ad in 2006, with a gorilla wandering around a store, unnoticed by shoppers (as if!) intent on the fantastic array of groceries.

Posted by: FishNChimps on March 25, 2008 12:06 PM