Should McQueen sue Cadburys?

14 June 2010

Look at this video. Thoughts? Beautiful, no? It’s the new ad for Flake. Not only the crumbliest choccy snack around but traditionally the one whose ads feature a woman all by herself, wrapping her lipsticky lips around it with more than a (tacky?) hint of suggestiveness. So, it's 2010 and the company have decided to put a more arty spin on the brand, commissioning film director Baillie Walsh and fashion designer Antony Price to come up with the swirling vision.

The only problem is, the ad bears more than a passing resemblance to Alexander McQueen’s 1996 show where Kate Moss appeared as a floating hologram to close the show. The hologram was created by McQueen with Baillie Walsh as well. It was particularly memorable because, at the time Moss was at the centre of a controversy storm over cocaine use.

The Alexander McQueen Company has decided not to see the ad as a flattering example of ‘trickle down’ and may sue Cadburys. A spokesman for the Alexander McQueen Company said: "We are seeking legal advice." Cadburys don’t see a clash; "This is about Baillie Walsh's work," said the spokesman. "It was his house style that attracted us rather than any previous work he had done. The Alexander McQueen show is not relevant. His previous work was one of many of our visual references but not the only one. We would not accept the charge of imitation."

What do you think? Can ideas be copywrighted? Or should advertising creatives be free to use whatever reference they like? Is the ad offensive to McQueen’s memory or a sign of how culturally significant his work is turning out to have been?


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