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.