Dave Buonaguidi seeks a Nando's voucher from Isobel and Savills in plagiarism spat

On the left Savills' ad, and Buonaguidi's work on the right

Dave Buonaguidi has found himself in a creative feud against estate agents Savills and its creative agency Isobel after claiming they 'reimagined' his artwork in a print campaign. However, no legal action will be taken and Buonaguidi is trying to see the funny side, seeking only a Nando's voucher in compensation.

The former CP&B chief creative officer and Karmarama founder's artwork focuses on screenprinting phrases and words onto maps, which he recently exhibited at an East London gallery. He alleges that Savills ran an ad in the Financial Times magazine on Sunday 17 September which bore a remarkable resemblance to his prints.

He told The Drum when he saw the similarities (above) that he "cracked up laughing" branding it a "straight rip-off."

"When I started looking at it more deeply I thought this is interesting, if it was another artist who hadn't worked in the ad industry they could have got away with it," he said.

He originally assumed the work came from an in-house department at Savills, however it was produced by Isobel, the company's creative agency.

A spokesperson for Isobel palmed away the accusation and shared an image packed with multiple activations of the print on map artworks that have been executed before Buonaguidi's foray into the hobby.

"At Isobel we are the first to protect artists rights. We don’t rip off ideas and always seek permission when it is needed. The international campaign we created uses type over maps, the very stuff of travel journalism and promotion for decades," a spokesperson said.

"If in doubt one quick look online by anyone will throw up multiple examples of this approach by many different people in a huge variety of contexts."

After speaking to a friend "who happens to be a copyright lawyer" Buonaguidi admitted that legally he "hasn't got a leg to stand on" largely down to the changes in the text and the lack of ownership on the idea.

Seeking his own recompense, Buonaguidi has instead been "banging out" less-than-flattering creative for Savills on Instagram, including creative featuring prolific sexual abuser Jimmy Savile.

As part of an amicable agreement, he has asked for a Nando's voucher for ten and the sale of one of his prints.

He concluded: "It is very flattering. All very amusing. Not a problem, no bitterness, I don’t mind missing out on the money, you’ve made a mistake, cover your arse and buy me a Nandos."

Below is some of the work he shared over the last few days.

Happy lunchtime @isobelcreative got another for you...up to you if you want to use it. Hmmm @nandosuk

A post shared by Dave Buonaguidi (@realhackneydave) on

I like graffiti. If done well. I remember years ago I was sitting in my car watching a couple of little herberts spraying their shit tags on a wall. This bloke in a suit pitched up and said "oi give us a go!" He grabbed the spray can and then grabbed one of the kids and sprayed him right in the mouth for about 5 seconds. It was brilliant, I laughed so hard I did a two inch poop. Anyway. Graffiti. Banksy. He's fresh. He's 'now'. He's 'cool'. And even though most millennials will never be able to afford a bedsit in shoreditch, this sort of idea could appeal to them. It's there if you want it @savills and @isobelcreative I'm here to help. Also I have almost everyone I need for the meal @Nando's how do you want to do this, I pay, and you reimburse me? @mdentonesq is going for extra hot. He's a mentalist!

A post shared by Dave Buonaguidi (@realhackneydave) on

Oh. When I was sent this by @katestrup I cried like a baby. I suddenly realised I had a connection with the great Vincent Van Gogh. He was rejected as an artist and in fact only ever sold one painting while he was alive. To a friend who felt sorry for him. I am also being abused as an artist by large corporations. I cannot stop crying. I've been in a very Fargo place for a while now and been trying to cut my ear off with a bread knife. But god it hurts! So I might not do that. Anyway. What I like about the headline here is it tells a real story. And stories are so powerful right now. Stories are trending, basically. What a story. Van Gogh. Bedsits. Art. Estate agents. Ad agencies. It's so depressing it's beautiful.

A post shared by Dave Buonaguidi (@realhackneydave) on

Buonaguidi left the role of chief creative officer at CP&B earlier this year, He recently spoke to The Drum about his hiatus from the industry and how much he hated working at his own agency, Karmarama.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.