Origin of an Idea: Absolut v. Art

By Matt Van Hoven 

A tipster sent us a couple links to two works, both of which are shown here. The first, an arty piece from NYC based graphic design house Sagmeister Inc., the concept is by Stefan Sagmeister and was produced in 2004. He’s in Indonesia for the year, so it’s been tough getting in touch with him &#151 we’re curious to know how he feels about the similarities between his piece and the vodka ad below.

According to Sagmeister’s Web site, this work (called Art Grandeur Nature) which is also in his book was an idea he’d been fiddling with in his personal diary. Sagmeister has worked with various arms of TBWA, producing a canvas bag, which won TBWA\Manila a Gold trophy at this year’s Kildat Festival (the longest running and most respected advertising competition in the Philippines).

The work in question is an Absolut ad that’s been widely published on various industry sites this week. Agency credit goes to TBWA New York. CCO Mark Figliulo is listed among the creatives involved, as are ACDs Kris Wixom, Alisa Wixom and Hoj Jomehri, AD Thiago Zanato and CD Rob Baird. As you can see, it is more than just a set of photos. However, the base concept of using natural elements/devices in different settings to spell words and form a sentence is extremely similar to Sagmeister’s, which has been around for some 5 years. You be the judge.


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