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Arby’s Suffering from Advertising Copycat Syndrome?

Suffering from “BNAABOCCSMAU?” or “Big National Ad Agency Borrowed Our Commercial Concept Six Months After Us” Syndrome? No? Well, could you fault us at Ding Communications if we were a bit surprised to see how Arby’s is pitching their Reuben samich? I was standing in my kitchen when I heard a snarky doctor on my TV ask me if I was suffering from NRNS – “Need a Reuben Now Syndrome?” If so, the good doctor informed me that Arby’s had the cure. I couldn't believe it. A multi-gajillion dollar national company was using the same advertising concept we had developed six months ago to generate auto loans for our northern Nevada credit union client, to push Reuben sandwich sales.
The similarity is almost eerie… See “Similar” Spot Here.

Our Reno ad agency developed an integrated marketing communications campaign for our client Greater Nevada Credit Union in 2011. The premise: “Are you suffering from ECS? (Embarrassing Car Syndrome) If so, Greater Nevada Credit Union Can Help.”
See Original Spot Here.

The Arby’s spot has a slightly different tone and they are clearly advertising a completely different product, but the Big Idea is exactly the same: real symptoms for a fictitious disease; diagnosis issued by a “doctor,” who then prescribes a real product as a cure.

As aghast! (that’s right, I said “aghast!”) as we were here at Ding when we first saw the commercial, we have since calmed down and have harnessed our collective Chi(s). Taking the adult perspective, it proves that solid, well-developed and well-executed ideas can hail from anywhere, from any agency, of any size, and be developed on any budget. Maybe Arby’s should include us a new-agency RFP (Request For Proposal)? I think they’d like our ideas…

Finally, it is important to recall the wise words our mothers spoke when we were children: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” We will definitely try to keep that in mind. But in all honesty we like our version better.

What do you think?

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