Did Google Rip Off This Viral Japanese Ad from 2015?

By Patrick Coffee 

It’s time for another round of “Is It Plagiariasm, Or…?”

Earlier this week, an anonymous tipster sent us this 2015 ad for Japanese internet service provider Plala. It’s a nicely done piece, and it’s unlike many American ads in that you have to wait a minute for the payoff.

OK, that was pretty cool. The ad went viral in Japan, and it was also briefly referenced in a more than slightly insane ramen spot that went up last week.

Fast forward to earlier this month, when Google debuted a new spot promoting its “Free Up Space” service, which was created to avoid the very sort of problems encountered by the school girls in the ad above.

It depicts a bunch of situations that are conceptually identical to the one in the Plala ad but executed in a far more rapid way. The style is different but the hook is the same — and it’s not one we’d seen before. (It’s not clear whether this one was by an outside shop or Google’s in-house team, but a lack of attribution points to the latter.)

Our tipster wrote earlier this week:

“Don’t let Google get away with plagiarizing someone else’s creative work. For what its worth, I’m a firm believer that there’s a certain level of ethics that should be followed when producing creative. This includes not stealing others’ work. And in this situation, with complete disregard for these ethics Google directly lifted another brand’s creative work to pass as their own. Can they not afford to produce original creative? Or are they just LAZY?”

We feel like he has a point, even if we’ve seen more blatant ripoffs during our tenure at this here web site. Maybe a good thing that the bodybuilding guy in the Google spot didn’t finish his video, though. He seemed destined to experience a very painful fall.