If a roomful of monkeys could eventually type the complete Shakespeare by chance, could a roomful of creative directors come up with the color orange? That’s one way of looking at the current fuss about two quite similar-looking commercials. Another way is to pose the question: If one commercial is going to imitate another, couldn’t it at least imitate a good one? That worthy principle has gotten little attention in the wrangling over whether Apple’s orange-tinted iPod commercial imitates Lugz orange-tinted spot or is just coincidentally a look-alike. The mere possibility that Apple swiped something from Lugz has created the presumption that the Lugz spot was something worth stealing. (See the Lugz spot here—click on Archive, Lugz, 01.) But the jails are full of people who’ve stolen things the rest of us wouldn’t want if offered the stuff for free. In this case, plenty of viewers will find each commercial a noisy bore. Whatever the legal ramifications of the matter, the phrase “intellectual property” sounds mildly absurd when applied to video of some guy thrashing around and blustering on an orange-tinted screen. By the way, there seems to be some doubt as to whether that roomful of monkeys really could type Shakespeare at random, but nothing can shake our faith in the powers of a roomful of creative directors.
—Posted by Mark Dolliver