Spotify has responded to accusations that banking app Revolut's latest ad campaign has blatantly copied the creative style of its ads.
The music streaming app has been widely celebrated for its advertising which unearths quirky listening behaviour data and transforms it into punchy headlines.
Revolut had been accused of straight-up copying Spotify's creative, from the concept right down to the typeface. The cash app, which launched in July 2015, claims to have 3 million global users who have made more than 250 million transactions at an excess of $25bn.
Last week, creatives noticed that its recent ad onslaught looked familiar (see a selection of tweets below). One out of home ad appeared to 'pay homage' to Spotify's work. It read: 'To the 7,643 people who set a monthly food budget called "Brexit Survival Fund"... hang in there'.
It was remarkably close to Spotify's, which stated: 'Dear 3,749 people who streamed 'it's the end of the world as we know it' the day before the Brexit vote... hang in there.'
However, in a surprising response, Alex Bodman, global executive creative director at Spotify, told The Drum: "Some of our favourite songs on Spotify are cover versions, so who are we to judge?"
Lucian Trestler, strategy director at BBH London outlined the optics of a banking brand making use of user data in such a way, saying there is a vast difference between the music streaming app - and a banking app - unearthing user data.
In particular, Revolut called out its members buying meals for one on Valentine's Day in another campaign execution.
Very poor show. This says to me - 'we are untrustworthy / we have no ethics'
— Lucian (@LucianTrestler) January 28, 2019
As did The Drum contributor and Creature chief exec, Dan Cullen-Shute.
One thing that's getting lost in this discussion is how much more sinister it is when a bank does it with people's personal finance data than when Spotify does it with some songs they like...
— Dan (@creature_dan) January 29, 2019
James Whatley, formerly of Ogilvy dubbed it "shameless".
Beat me to it; this whole copy campaign is shameless.
— James Whatley (@Whatleydude) January 28, 2019
His former colleague Gen Kobayashi, head of strategy at Ogilvy said the work crossed the line.
We often borrow from other ideas to create new ideas - “No such thing as an original idea” etc. But unashamedly ripping other people’s work off in totality is something entirely different.
— mrkobayashi (@mrkobayashi) January 28, 2019
The Drum is still to hear back from Revolut at the time of publishing.
Spotify put its latest spin on the data-driven marketing at the end of 2018. It unearthed some odd habits and trends from customers that year.