Have social media ‘trending’ codecs normalised concept duplication?

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  • Amazon Prime’s newest social media marketing campaign ‘Lacking Me’ reminded us of Flipkart’s ‘WherestheF’ marketing campaign from September 2020.
  • This made us marvel if social media has normalised stealing unique concepts within the title of ‘tendencies.’
  • We reached out to consultants to grasp what are the perils of engaged on such comparable concepts in in the present day’s world.

Within the social media world, manufacturers typically use a artistic template that’s conceptualised by one company and tweak it a bit to leap on the bandwagon. Manufacturers do not simply take ‘inspiration’, they use virtually the identical template and put their emblem on it with out looking for consent from the creator. Now we have normalised replicating one model’s concept for an additional by calling it a ‘pattern.’ No one has a ‘distinctive voice’ anymore — every thing in the present day is a replica of a replica of a replica. (For instance, take Snapchat’s tales, Twitter Tales, Instagram Tales, Fb Tales)

(Most of us are fairly clueless about who began this ‘India vs US’ pattern first)

On the finish of the day, promoting is a enterprise of concepts and with out concepts, no company would exist. After the appearance of social media, nonetheless, companies have violated their very own code of conduct about concept duplication that they’ve been following for years now. It has turn out to be handy for manufacturers to undertake unique concepts and codecs on social media, within the title of ‘tendencies’, to seize their shopper’s consideration.



Whereas one may argue {that a} model solely attracts inspiration from the unique concept to leap on the bandwagon, the identical format might help one other model turn out to be extra common and even viral — leaving the brainchild behind the marketing campaign’s concept really feel betrayed and boiling in rage. The artistic particular person behind this good concept, in return, can solely calm his/her rage by commenting on the submit, “Hey, that was my concept” and the business strikes on. One other day comes by, one other submit is uploaded with out credit score and one other model goes viral for an unoriginal concept.

On the similar time, manufacturers additionally consciously attempt to put out codecs that may be deemed worthy sufficient to be picked up and go viral.

In March 2020, digital company Schbang had written an open letter to the promoting business titled ‘It’s time to kill that #trendingformat’ after it noticed 1000’s of content material creators following their codecs and the company even agreed to have jumped on the bandwagon up to now.

It learn, “Daily a few of us have misplaced our distinctive voices to a pattern. Not entertaining customers anymore. Simply high-fiving one another on the ‘earned media. Let’s make mediocrity sad and onerous work nice once more. Let’s make artwork that’s tailored for manufacturers.”

Schbang articulated and mirrored upon what we try to convey with this story, virtually a yr in the past. It’s about how social media has allowed manufacturers and companies to leech on one another’s concepts and breed mediocrity.
This week, Amazon Prime India dropped ‘Me’ from its emblem throughout social media pages and shortly, everybody was speaking about it. A couple of extra manufacturers like Dunzo, Pepsi, Parle G and Tinder India picked up on this and eliminated ‘me’ from their creatives, which was probably a collaboration between the platform and these manufacturers.

However wait a minute. Did you additionally really feel a déjà vu? Now we have heard of this earlier than. Sounds too comparable, doesn’t it?

We could not assist however evaluate Amazon Prime Me (Cellular Version) marketing campaign with Flipkart and Samsung’s ‘#WhereTheF’ marketing campaign from September 2020 and spot the uncanny resemblance.

Enable us to refresh your reminiscence.

For just a few days in September 2020, Flipkart had tweeted with out utilizing the alphabet ‘F.’ Among the phrases in its tweets had been like ‘rom’, ‘itness’, ‘irst’, ‘inds’, and others. A-listers and types joined in and began searching for Flipkart’s ‘F.’ Customers had been inquisitive about what’s cooking and Flipkart later introduced that it was a advertising ploy for Samsung’s cellphone launch. Samsung had taken the entrance web page of the Flipkart retailer to advertise its Samsung Galaxy F41 and used Flipkart’s social media pages to construct some buzz round its launch.


And now, Amazon Prime bought just a few manufacturers to tweet with out the letters ‘ME’ to announce the launch of its cellular version. Each of those campaigns have the same technique: make a typo to get seen on the platform, edit your social media bio, help it with a hashtag and get extra manufacturers to tweet about it in order that there’s a steady momentum on social media to earn natural PR.

Whereas it wasn’t a trending format, it’s a comparable concept and template, executed just a few months aside with little adjustments: model title, color and timing. Had it been a TVC or an enormous billboard, Amazon Prime would in all probability have been accused of plagiarism. Whereas on social media, it’s okay to revise and cross the by-product concepts as their very own.

So, we reached out to consultants to grasp the perils of engaged on similar-looking concepts in the present day and focus on if social media has normalised concept theft.

Here’s what they mentioned:

Lloyd Mathias, Angel Investor and Enterprise Strategist:


I believe this a cool twist in second advertising, the place manufacturers choose on ongoing conversations and insert themselves with informal banter weaving their model messaging. When manufacturers bask in informal repartee, it helps them come by way of as informal and pleasant and in a way endear themselves to their audiences.



When Flipkart kicked off the #WheresTheF pattern again in September the plain reference was to the extra generally used WTF so a part of GenZ communicate. It additionally performed on Flipkart’s emblem that used the F! Manufacturers like Samsung and Swiggy had been fast to select on this pitching their very own traces dropping the letter F. Amazon taking this on with its personal variant for Amazon Pri….with the ME lacking now has different manufacturers latching on taking the chance to up their social media sport. This marketing campaign – on the lacking ME – that is creating immense curiosity, is driving each curiosity and sparking off reactions from different manufacturers, fuelling the dialog.

These catchy, good, low coats dialog builders assist enhance pleasure in social media platforms, serving to the model up it is salience and is a welcome pattern in an more and more digitally savvy society.


Harish Bijoor, Model Guru & Founder, HarishBijoor Consults Inc:


Good concepts have a restricted shelf-life. As soon as a model has used it, it turns into a part of used-lore, and loses its unique sting. That’s the threat of utilizing concepts used as soon as, again and again by others. Social media is actually an anarchy. Possession of concepts is seldom revered. Individuals elevate ideas and concepts with out a qualm. Chasing idea-theft is due to this fact a really laborious process out right here. When a model does have an unique concept, the easiest way to guard it’s to go hammer and tongs on it, and go to city with its publicity. If the publicity is massive sufficient, the one who needs to repeat it can suppose thrice earlier than doing it.



Abhik Santara, Director and CEO ^ a t o m:

It’s sheer lazy advertising – by shoppers and companies. And each are to be blamed equally. If an company goes with a brand new concept/innovation, shoppers are asking to see a reference. How is that doable? It is a new concept. Equally, companies are getting too snug to current concepts which have topicality inbuilt. It’s simpler to make sure a specific amount of engagement on common topics. However does that create any distinction or add to the core of the model? Null! efficiency marketing campaign ought to assist the model and a great model marketing campaign should ship efficiency. It is not both or. Companies that are outfitted to grasp and ship this, will drive the long run.

The battle of communication between rivals just isn’t new in advertising. It has been taking place for a lot of a long time. However that was when communication was one sided, and markets had been fragmented. At present, within the digital period, it’s strolling into fireplace. Customers will choose it up, aggressive manufacturers will lash out. And possibly the model which is being copied will get extra mileage out of it.



Ashish Khazanchi, Managing Associate, Monumental Manufacturers:

I believe the web world is all about conversations and fueling these conversations and ensuring that you’re the man who’s benefiting essentially the most from these conversations. Couple of years again, if I got here throughout a marketing campaign that anyone else has already, we might put an finish to ours. However what I see taking place is, if I am the originator of that type of a thought, and many folks wanting in on that one, you bought a great factor going: you bought a marketing campaign you began off, an increasing number of folks becoming a member of within the dialog. The dialog that you just began is definitely working in your favor: the world is speaking about it. They get some mirrored glory, however the principle glory, the man who began off the dialog, that simply precisely how the entire hashtagging of it or the way you began all these conversations the best way it really works.

Akshara Vasavda, Inventive Lead, Schbang:

Amazon’s marketing campaign undoubtedly feels comparable proper now, however how they take it ahead may change every thing. However sure, they’ve chosen a route that now begs scrutiny due to its apparent similarities to campaigns of well-known competitor manufacturers.

Personally, I do not suppose following a pattern is that large a deal. Virtually each single factor we eat in the present day is a replica of a replica. After all outright plagiarism is mistaken, however relating to creativity in promoting, it is not simply the concept on a conceptual degree that makes issues occur. So sure, the concept is likely to be comparable, however the way it’s executed, in what context it is executed, the tip goal, all of that determines the success of the concept. Even when we copy a Cannes successful concept and slap it on a random model, it will not work if the remainder of the features aren’t becoming in. If Amazon is deliberately or unintentionally copying Flipkart – a) the customers are good sufficient to see by way of this and it will not enchantment to folks as a lot as a result of the intrigue issue will likely be misplaced. b) if the customers do find yourself liking it, it mechanically implies that they did one thing that stood out and made folks like the concept regardless of it being just like a competitor model that can also be equally well-known in India. Mainly, in the long run, the customers resolve if the model can get away with ‘copying’ or not. It could be a really completely different dialog for issues like movies, exhibits, music, and so on. However that is promoting we’re speaking about. Creativity is just an added layer within the course of of promoting the product – the tip aim is to generate buzz, get outreach, get gross sales, and so on. If that occurs, all is sweet. If that does not occur, even essentially the most distinctive concept will not be appreciated.

The Web largely works on meme tradition. This tradition has now trickled right down to digital promoting as nicely the place ‘codecs’ primarily turn out to be ‘memes’. It is bought its execs and cons. In case your model places out an progressive format, and different manufacturers find yourself utilizing it as a pattern, that is large validation on your personal model. Most manufacturers would not take a look at it as concept theft. In truth, manufacturers in the present day consciously attempt to put out codecs that may be ‘picked up’ and go viral. However the flipside is that whereas some manufacturers are pushing for innovation to be the chief of the pattern, some manufacturers are comfortable following tendencies as a substitute of making them. That comes right down to the company tradition and the creatives engaged on these manufacturers. It undoubtedly does not really feel like a case of concept theft proper now. And the place there have been instances of lazy plagiarism, like I mentioned earlier, the customers (and even companies) are good sufficient to name it out.



P.G Aditya, Nationwide Inventive Director, Dentsu Webchutney:


Similarities like these exist throughout the spectrum, all over the place. There are a number of campaigns over time which have eliminated part of their model title/emblem/core asset as a teaser to launch one thing (the most well-liked world instance is the I-Hop, the pancake chain, which modified its title to I-Hob on the web to announce its new vary of Burgers). That marketing campaign by Droga5, NYC, went on to turn out to be an enormous winner at Cannes Lions just a few years again.

Test it out right here:


On a facet observe, after all, all of us within the artistic enterprise can do a greater job of celebrating our influences. Customers applaud originality and inspiration with the identical gusto so long as they’ve beloved the work. Positive, we would not lose clients by being much less unique in our promoting, however we might acquire just a few extra if we’re loud and proud about what’s impressed our pondering.



OMG is consistently cementing what Social-First means, the way it positively transforms society over the long-term and most significantly, it should be the business mannequin companies convert to. The ethics we reside by, form our values and tradition. Now we have made nice strides due to the help we obtain from the general public.

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