The Shadow Chronicles

Being an established self-serving advocate, it was quite unbelievable that I would miss the chance to go up on stage and collect the silverware for my campaign “Mentos Monday” at the Adfest Dhaka 2011. But as ironic as it may be, it happened… and somehow, I really have no regrets about it 🙂 After all, winning is all that matters and my missed chance was soon made up for as I stood on stage collecting the second silverware for the night that we (Ogilvy Bangladesh) had won.

Winning feels great… everyone gets to take pride in it, dialogs start about it, criticism goes up by a notch… ah well, it’s all just part of the package at the end!!!Beating the mighty Prothom Alo to take the best print ad award (news and publications category) was quite an achievement for Daily Sun. Being only a few months old, the English daily is hardly a match for the no.1 newspaper in Bangladesh for over a decade. And even when it comes to communication, Prothom Alo has been leading the way with some of the great campaigns that we’ve been exposed to in past few years. However, it wasn’t to be the same this time around… the Daily Sun Victory Day (16th December) print ad dethroned its predominant competitor to take away the silverware!!!

The idea SIMPLE: Establish how the “pen” is mightier than the “sword” (or in this case the rifle) and salute the freedom fighters on Victory Day.172872_10150091562958171_593538170_6376839_1766377_oAs deserving or crappy as it may seem… no sooner had the award been announced that an anti-alliance was formed. As I closely watched people from the creative industry bombard this piece of communication as a “copycat” of a noted campaign from a global brand; I simply couldn’t resist digging deep and actually unearthing the practice of using such shadows in advertising around the world.
The campaign from which the one above had apparently taken inspiration (or copied) from belonged to Lego, the colorful interlocking plastic bricks that we all loved back in childhood.mattus_lego_copyThis campaign was all about highlighting the greatest strength we posses as children, “creative imagination”. When a child’s vivid imagination takes over, even the simplest of Lego structures could stand for the unlikeliest of objects (in this case a ship, a dinosaur, a tank and a plane).

Considering how half a glass of water can stand for both optimism (if seen as half full) and pessimism (half empty) in one single visual representation; its hard to believe that a creative mind would associate the campaigns above to be of the same kind (let alone, dubbing the local to be a “copycat” of the global).

In fact, the use the shadows to mirror the subtext of the image are a common practice that’s been going on for ages. It’s easy to label a local creative as a knockoff of the global award-winning work, but when you see the following, do the same neurons tickle your brains?
powerbarshadow johnlewiswoman johnlewischild hoard-2 ariel_bright_white 2200269748_6a68073569_o wwftigerEven movies haven’t shied away from ripping the benefits of this shadow-play either…
star-wars-shadow-adIt’s really unfortunate, that we as a nation are obsessed with defaming the achievements of others (and I’m sure multiple occasions are popping up in your head, too). It would be really great to have something as original and authentic as the Holy Qur’an, but that’s hardly ever the case. Because the brains behind such creative work take inspirations from their daily lives; it seems, at times their expressions of different ideas take not so different shapes at the end…

It’s always easier to say something is “copied” rather than trying to interpret what the thought behind is, just like the way it is to condemn than to compliment!!!

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