When Microsoft debuted its "Really?" ads for the Windows Phone launch in late 2010, I hailed them as hilarious because they were so true to life: The ads features smart phone-stunned lemmings staring into their devices and ignoring life around them. Brilliant, right?
Maybe too brilliant.
In the wake of the ad campaign, a small Florida company called Cellrderm sued Microsoft and its PR firm, Crispin Porter, for copying ads that it had made a year previous. Well, not really "ads" in the traditional sense, they're were more like self-produced videos that were posted only to You Tube. But the point was made, and if you view the originals (which are terrible) and then the Windows Phone ads, you can obviously see the similarities.
(Another example: The Cellrderm "bathroom" ad that was the clear inspiration for a similar scene in a later "Really?" ad.)
The copying was so obvious, I suppose, that a settlement was inevitable. And it happened this week. Microsoft, Crispin Porter, and Cellrderm have agreed to dismiss the suit this week following a mediation process in December. As is usually the case, the terms of the settlement were not disclosed. If I had to guess, I'd say that some form of payment went in the direction of Cellrderm.
They're still funny.