Chinese washing machine brand Little Swan has been accused of ripping off a recent campaign for the Hong Kong Ballet, created by Design Army.
The original campaign, which was selected as an ad of the day by The Drum, relaunched a new direction for the ballet company, after appointing former Washington Ballet’s Septime Webre as its artistic director.
Press and social media users have been quick to highlight the similarities between the two campaigns, of which the series of images have been used in both.
In a document shared with The Drum, a series of side-by-side comparisons have been made, as well as a series of screenshots from Chinese social media, depicting people calling the brand out for copying the Hong Kong Ballet campaign.
The issue of plagiarism has blighted the Chinese creative community for years, though in recent years the stories of original Chinese innovation and creativity had started to overtake its reputation as a copycat.
In a special magazine issue about China, The Drum recently asked, can China wave goodbye to its copycat culture? But stories like this would suggest that it’s still got some way to go.
The issue of copycat brands is not just a Chinese issue, as US streetwear brand Supreme has a direct knock-off competitor Supreme Italia that is able to exist due to loopholes in Italian law. Just recently Samsung China had announced a partnership with the counterfeit brand and had defended its actions until this week, announcing it was axing the partnership.