When ads become spoof-worthy

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Parodies are very common in movies: either trashing a particular genre (like in Scary Movie or Airplane!) or paying tribute to something that is timeless – ‘I’ll be back’ dialogue or scenes from The Godfather. In advertising too, parodies are common. Popular iconic brand campaigns – Absolut, MasterCard’s Priceless series, Apple’s Get a Mac and Benetton ads have been spoofed. But most of them have been done by end consumers – fans, detractors, activists and so on. But there have been cases of advertisers creating ads that are send ups of popular campaigns. Here are a few:

Chupa Chups: this ad won at the Cannes Advertising Awards, in 2003.

Burger King: another tribute to the iconic Marlboro ads, this was a finalist at  Epica Awards in 2006.

Agency: .start, Germany

Wonderbra: somewhere in the world, at this very moment some junior copywriter in an advertising agency is thinking of a scam ad for Wonderbra.

Ad Asia 2003: these ads ran as pre-event welcome ads for the delegates of AdAsia 2003.

Unlike the consumer spoofs of say, the Mastercard Priceless ads, these ads remind you of the advertised brand rather than of the spoofed one. Among the Economist ads, ‘I never read The Economist’ is clearly the most popular of the lot. And as far as the Marlboro ads are concerned the freedom and macho imagery of ‘Americana’ has an appeal of it’s own. Brands that have created such iconic, timeless advertising are but a handful. No?

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