Extortion of a Picture

Extortion of a Picture
The favorite trick for the thieves of advertising ideas

Jaafar Hamza
My friend, Ali, came to me; his eyes were shining, full of “I’ve found it” sparkle ,I always expect when he tells me a new information to technical news. However, this time I have not known that the shining of his eyes carry the news of stealing something belongs to me.
Your idea has been stolen dear friend
When I was shopping in a mall in Saudi Arabia, I saw an ad for a cosmetic product, when I passed near it I stopped suddenly as it reminded me of .of your exact idea, the concept, the vision, the message , in short, I saw your total exact idea “stolen”.
My friend finished his talk, I waited for him to show me the brochure of the ad which contains my stolen idea of my ad, I waited a few seconds till I saw, oh my god, really, there is no coincidence, the ad is comprehensively similar to my ad, it is actually a carbon copy of the concept, visual and message
And, god heavens, they applied it widely on several examples
Not to forget, that the ad I produced, with my two Indian colleagues was my idea inspired by my wife, won the silver award in (creativity award competition).In the United States among 22 US states and 36 countries around the world
My ad got that award under the title” The best printed\published ad for a magazine” in 2010
The idea of my ad is about promoting a cosmetic product (cream) through presenting a woman, with a challenge look in her eyes, and two lines under them, like old warriors who used to draw two lines under their eyes to scare the enemy and as a symbol of chivalry and courage. This style is still used by American football players as well as commandos teams. The idea here is using the cosmetic product in drawing those two lines with the title “Fight Aging”
That was my idea of the ad basically

What we can see in the copied ad is the same idea in every tiny detail, the general concept hasn’t been changed, putting the cream under the eyes to carry the warrior idea hasn’t been changed as well, even the message hasn’t been altered or modified too “Fight for your Skin”. Moreover, they applied the idea on several examples; they presented a city woman with a shield, a man from the cost with a knife and a boy in his school with a boxing glove.

It is really a visual “extortion” case, the one who was extorted has nothing but to shout loud and cry, “this is mind scorning and despising the thieves of ads ideas are professional of”. It must be shown to the public that has become more enlightened using the net
This kind of visual extortion of ideas makes the original creator of the idea a rebel and the ones who find it talk, thus this pirated act circulates several parties as follows:
The product brand owner, the advertising agency, the consumer, the party which its idea and effort were stolen, as well as the ad audience.
The advertising agency which creates this circle, owns the time and effort in offering the supposed “Creative” ideas to its costumer “the Brand owner”. The advertising agency thinks-what a bad thinking- that imitating ideas for its costumer’s ads will be “easy” and would not be noticed.
And this is what – let’s say- the top of imbecility of the brand owner and the target people of the ad
In a world that a lot of its population breaths “intellectual theft” as they breath air, as it is simple for many reasons, it is highly important to all the specialized, the followers or the founders of this visual and intellectual extortions, they all should shout loud to stop this crime of mean behavior with others that exists from bright names and luxurious offices called Advertising Agencies. Those agencies think they are smart and can foul play the costumers by stealing others ideas without much ado from those “others”.
Back to my friend Ali when he showed me my stolen ad, he asked me: what are you going to do now?
I, realizing that ideas theft is as hunting dears in the wild, no law for hunting and no restrictions, so I said:” I will put a sign in the hunting area hoping that it will be noticed by those and to make them realize their acts. And this article is the “SIGN””.

ivan's picture

Sucks :(

Shawali's picture
Activity Score 8442

Welcome to the unfair world of advertising!

Unfortunately, there's nothing new about this. It's been happening, and still happens, everyday day.

It doesn't even mean that the idea was stolen. Sometimes, two or more agencies can have the same idea. Millions of ads are made everyday. It's bound to happen. It's statistical.

In your case, since your ad has won awards and has been somewhat publicized, there's a possibility it was indeed copied. But you can't be sure. And you'll never know. That's the unfairness of the whole business.

Don't waste your time whining about it. There's no point really. Your ad won awards. Theirs did not. Job done. Who cares if some lame agency somewhere out there "steals" your idea?

Check out Joe la Pompe's website, he tracks all the copycats or badly timed campaigns:

No one cares about child labor, eye donation or saving the Earth: NO PSA!!!

Moussa Dan's picture
Moussa Dan
Activity Score 2

I respect what Mr. Hamza wrote and respect IP and creative ideas.
However, if you google now "Protect your skin", you will find many ads and photos that have a similar concept. Simply see the results at:
Further, if you look through magazines on racks, including magazines in the GCC and in Bahrain, I am certain you'll come across many similar front covers or ads - the same idea, slightly differentiated.
All of us should get more and more creative all the time to stand out.