Lugz Responds To Apple Over CopyCat Ad and Makes The Most of Its Day In The Sun

David Kiley

A few days ago I blogged about the mounting controversy over Apple's new TV ads by TBWA/Chiat Day featuring Eminem that bear a striking similarity to TV ads for Lugz done by New York shop Avrett, Free & Ginsberg a few years ago.

The story, which originated on Adfreak, was later picked up by The New York Post and, today, The New York Times. Lugz is finally on the record after spending several days just basking in the publicity over the fact that the great originator Steve Jobs, by way of his ad agency, seemed to be ripping off a sneaker company. I love it when this happens. A small brand with a paltry marketing budget gets to leverage the boneheaded mistake of two companies with giant egos--Apple and TBWA/Chiat Day--into millions of dollars of good publicity. I can see the headline a new Lugz ad: "You think Apple is innovative? Steve Jobs gets hisn ideas from Us. Buy Lugz." Apple, especially, is known for being especially hostile to the media, mostly blowing off even casual straightforward inquiries from the press, but expecting the media to jump whenever Steve Jobs even mumbles.

From Lugz: NEW YORK, NY (October 25, 2005) – In 2002 Lugz footwear unveiled an innovative, edgy advertising campaign featuring an anonymous silhouette man set against an urban scene in red, orange, yellow and black and brought to life by the rap music of Funkmaster Flex. Just recently, Apple Computer unveiled their new ad campaign featuring the silhouette of rap artist Eminem set against an urban scene in red, orange, yellow and black.

The similarities between the two commercials are garnering national attention from outlets such as The New York Times, “Is Imitation Flattery, Theft or Just Coincidence?” and ADWEEK, “Is Apple’s Eminem Spot Too Much of an Encore?”

“If you look at these spots, common sense would tell you that there’s a problem here. The Apple commercial uses the most powerful elements of our campaign, making the ads disturbingly similar,” said Larry Schwartz, executive vice president and principal of Lugz. “We are looking into the circumstances under which this could have happened, and the effect on our creative and intellectual property, which Lugz plans to aggressively protect,” continued Schwartz.

The Lugz “Arrow” ad can be viewed by visiting http://www.psyop.tv/main.php, clicking on “Archive” and then on “Lugz.” The Apple “Detroit” ad can be viewed by visiting http://www.apple.com/itunes/ads/.

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