Animator accuses McDonald’s of plagiarising his viral (and surreal) dancing cow video


By John McCarthy | Media editor

August 4, 2016 | 5 min read

A prominent YouTube animator is accusing a McDonald's agency of copying one of his 2010 videos 'Cows & Cows & Cows’.

Cyriak Harris' video work, often features the animated distortion and mutation of animals, often backed by a jarring bizarre soundtrack. His video featuring dancing cows snagged more than 37 million views.

On Tuesday, he tweeted an accusation at McDonald's, On Tuesday, he tweeted an accusation at McDonald's, expressing how similar its South American ad telling where its ice cream dairy is sourced from, is to his classic viral video.


A comparison of the ads

He has also linked out to the McDonald’s ad in question which now appears to have been deleted.

The ad was seemingly created by Argentinean animation agency Juan Solo. A Twitter user clocked one of the agency's creatives admitting they took inspiration from Cyriak.

Cyriak told The Independent: "Plagiarism in the advertising industry is a problem for artists and it should be a problem for advertisers as well, because each of them depend on the other to a certain extent." (Read the full interview here).

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McDonald's told The Drum that Vacas DPZ&T, a marketing agency hired by Arcos Dourados (a franchisee of McDonald’s in Latin America) conceived the work.

A spokesperson said: "The creative idea used in the campaign was born before we found this work, which was later used with numerous other works as a reference for the production of the spot. It is common to use creative references in the advertising industry, however, we realise that in this particular case, the final result shows some similarities with the work of the artist in question.

"When we realised this, we asked our client Arcos Dorados, a franchisee of McDonald’s in Latin America who was totally unaware of the problem, to pull the ad from air, which was done immediately. The production house responsible for the work will contact the artist Cyriak Harris with a view to resolving the issue as soon as possible amicably."


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