A Chinese washing machine manufacturer has produced a series of photographs to advertise its products, all of which seem to have an impossible resemblance to a campaign shot by an award-winning U.S. ad agency.
As reported by Adweek, the director of Design Army was tipped off by Asian friends who suddenly started seeing the adverts for Little Swan washing machines, all of which were more than strikingly similar to a campaign that the Washington D.C. agency shot for the Hong Kong Ballet last year.
The washing machine manufacturer seems to have replicated a series of images from the campaign. Some appear to have been reshot with new models, while others seem to lift entire elements from Design Army’s photographs, as created by photographer Dean Alexander.
Speaking to Adweek, Design Army’s co-founder at CCO seems quite relaxed and gracious about having inspired an entire advertising campaign for a large and successful Chinese company. Midea, Little Swan’s owner, employs more than 100,000 people and its U.S. arm is a Fortune 500 company. Generating more than $22 billion in revenue each year, one would think that such a large company would be more than willing to spend its money on its own advertising. Unfortunately for Design Army, taking legal action would probably be prohibitively expensive and unnecessarily time-consuming.
Many commenting on social media were quick to point out that thefts of this nature are far from rare, though perhaps not often on this scale, both in terms of the size of the companies involved or the degree of apparent replication.
Lead image by Andy Day.