“A Chinese Washing Machine Brand Blatantly Lifted Design Army’s Stunning Ballet Campaign” is the headline of an Adweek story. And, “Déjà vu? Versatile Hong Kong Ballet branding campaign can also sell washing machines” is the headline of a Campaign Brief Asia story.

As reported by Adweek, “Pum Lefebure began to get a flurry of messages from her contacts in Asia, all with a similar question: “Have you seen this?”

“Co-founder and chief creative officer of the celebrated Washington, D.C., agency Design Army, Lefebure has an extensive global network of clients, peers and fans, and some who use Chinese social and messaging apps like WeChat or Weibo had noticed something circulating on the apps that seemed frustratingly familiar.

As she soon learned, a Chinese washing machine brand called Little Swan had launched an ad campaign that was lifted almost 100 percent from Design Army’s 2018 visual rebranding campaign for the Hong Kong Ballet. While many ad campaigns duplicate themes, techniques or visual metaphors drawn from other marketing, this one is rather blatant.

“Most of the contacts messaging Lefebure were shocked and infuriated when they saw the copycat campaign.Perhaps more unnervingly, one of her Asian clients saw it and asked if Design Army was behind the new campaign as well.

“It’s OK to be inspired,” Lefebure tells Adweek. “It’s not OK to trace and copy and pull in stuff, then bill your client for the creative work you didn’t really do.”




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