On Monday, Reese Canada posted a Facebook video following a common theme: a man in love with his candy.
Totally harmless #branding exercise, right? Of course it was. But this one might look a little familiar because you’ve seen it before—more than once.
David Sikorski is a music writer based in San Francisco, but The Internet knows him best as the guy who got engaged to a burrito way back in 2015. In a sort of protest against all the marriage/baby pics clogging his Facebook feed, Sikorski and photographer Kristina Bakrevski took a bunch of pictures of him and his Mexican (food) lover hanging out in the Bay Area.
BuzzFeed covered the sort-of stunt, which got subsequent attention in Time and People and The Huffington Post as these things tend to do. Less than a month later, McDonald’s blatantly ripped it off for a series of ads promoting its two cheeseburger combo despite the fact that the images were licensed by the pair who initially created them.
McDonald’s later apologized, telling AdFreak: “This shouldn’t have happened, and, with our agency partner, we’re working to find out how it did.” (That was McD’s PR/content agency Golin, which was also behind the new, sexy Hamburglar.)
So Reese just (allegedly) did the very same thing less than two years later. This is hardly the first time a brand has run with a marrying food theme, but the resemblance between these specific images is too close to be a coincidence. And again, the original photos are not public domain.
— David Sikorski (@_davidsikorski) February 8, 2017
— Josh Constine (@JoshConstine) February 8, 2017
“I’ve really enjoyed seeing other people’s unique iterations of this concept (ie. the burrito baby photos, the girl with a pizza as a boyfriend, etc.) but not sure why it’s only large companies that keep blatantly copying photos (all the way down to the concept, wardrobe, poses and scenery),” Sikorski told us. “It’s like, c’mon guys, you’re not even trying.”
UPDATE: A Hershey spokesperson contacted Sikorski a few hours after this post went live and gave us the following statement:
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We sincerely apologize for any similarity in our content. We have already reached out to Mr. Sikorski and have spoken to him directly to resolve this issue. We are also working with our agency partners to understand how this piece of content was created and will take all appropriate actions to ensure that similar incidents to do not happen in the future.”
Toronto’s Community, which has been handling digital and social content for the brand up North since 2015, did not work on this campaign. We’ve also reached out to digital AOR Anomaly.
Reese’s social media team seems to have been paying attention, though: Sikorski said they deleted all Facebook comments accusing them of ripping his work.