I'm vexed about a new TV commercial running for Charter Communications (admittedly, a competitor to one of our main clients, though you'll see that has nothing to do with this). It uses the song, "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" to tout Charter's NFL packages to deliriously happy NFL fans.
I don't know about you, but when I hear that song I immediately think of the iconic spot for Staples depicting deliriously happy parents dragging their sorrowful kids through Staples picking out school supplies in the annual back-to-school ritual, at exactly this same time of year. I don't use "iconic" lightly, but Ad Age and others have agreed with that sentiment about that spot throughout the years.
The Charter spot isn't parody; it's pilfering. It is the exact same creative idea used by another agency for another client, and it's not as if the good people at Charter's ad agency aren't aware of the Staples spot.
My reason for calling it out is that in my puritanical ad mind, the good citizens of Ad Land should be snaking up the drive in mob (or flash mob) fashion to Charter headquarters, brandishing torches and swords a la the assault on Dr. Frankenstein's castle. Alas, that will not happen.
And to me, the sad truth is that the spot probably works very well for Charter, and I doubt anyone really cares that it has been used before. Does anybody? Should anybody?
If we put the sacred cow of not poaching great ads and campaigns to permanent pasture, wouldn't that open a treasure trove of ideas to be recycled for contemporary use?
I hate the thought, but I can't say it's not a smart marketing move when the only people likely to take offense are the denizens of our own industry.