Johnnie Walker and Leo Burnett Sydney have been caned by American magazine Adweek for ripping off the famous Old Spice commercials starring Isaiah Mustafa.
Plenty of advertisers have "shamelessly co-opted the style of Wieden + Kennedy's award-winning Old Spice " says the mag - but Johnnie Walker takes it to a new level in this Australian spot directed by Harold Einstein.
"Here, we have a suave gent pitching Scotch as the drink of the rich and powerful—with goofy sight gags and ultra-witty dialogue yanked directly from the W+K work. The rhythms of the writing are practically identical—just not as good. Our hero enjoys getting whiffs of "the sultry tang of a woman's hair" (huh?) and says his drink of choice is "every bit as important as the important discussions important men discuss."
The Important Man even slaps some Scotch on his face like aftershave. "That's supposed to be an acknowledgment of the source material," says Adweek. "But it doesn't make it any less embarrassing. The Old Spice work was so fresh and original at the time. To recycle it so explicitly, and pretend your copy is fresh, is the height of hack work."
Adweek itself borrows the famous Johnnie Walker slogan and hands it out as advice to Leo Burnett Sydney: " Next time you see a campaign you envy and would like to imitate, keep walking".