Ads that steal from sitcoms

SeinfeldHow original is today’s advertising anyway? According to this article on Slate, not very. The piece, nestled amid the magazine’s excellent Katrina coverage, points out that Chrysler and Coors Light have both co-opted infamous phrases from Seinfeld (and in the automaker’s case, one of its stars, too) all to get a “gratis kind of celebrity endorsement.” Seinfeld writer Peter Mehlman, for one, is none too pleased. “It makes you wonder about just how incredibly lazy ad writers have gotten,” he says, referring to a Coors Light ad in which a woman says of the brand’s new bottles: “They’re plastic, and they’re spectacular.” “That’s 13 years ago that I wrote that episode,” Mehlman says. (Let’s not forget, however, that after his seminal sitcom ended, Jerry himself toyed with the idea of opening his own ad agency.) Of course, taking ideas from sitcoms is nothing new. There’s been plenty said about how many ads have been, ahem, similar to The Office (the BBC version). And Barbara Lippert from our sister publication Adweek noticed similarities between BBDO’s work for Sierra Mist and Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Which makes us wonder, what will creatives take from the newest round of television comedies? Perhaps we’ll see more losers on the road to redemption, à la My Name Is Earl. Or maybe there’ll just be more work for Bob Saget, who despite playing against his persona in The Aristocrats and Entourage, provides the voiceover for How I Met Your Mother.

—Posted by Aaron Baar

Photo: NBC