Monday, August 19, 2013

Land of plenty?

Local blogger Amar Trivedi writes about the new Audi ad... "What is a good TV commercial? End of the day, it's great audio-visual content that makes it memorable. Just what the new Audi New Zealand commercial "Land of Plenty. Land of Quattro" - Audi's first ever NZ made television commercial - has in heaps.

"The best TV ad I've seen in a while, it features an awesome audio track by Kiwi singer songwriter,Greg Johnson. The song was composed especially for the Audi ad. It could (and should) be used for NZ Tourism. Hear! Hear! Tourism New Zealand, this song is a floor-filler, ear-puller."  More about the making of the commercial on AdMedia.

Now, go and have a listen to the song Land Of Plenty by OMC (below) and see if you notice any similarities. Perhaps the "audio visual content that makes it memorable" works because it sounds like something you may already know? Will be interesting to see how this plays out. Maybe it's just a coincidence?

The BNZ used OMC's Land of plenty for an ad back in 2001, watch it here.

I am told that it's not uncommon for ad producers and directors to use an existing song when editing a commercial as a 'temp [temporary] track', and then once the client approves it, commission a soundalike version that has stylistic similarities without being an exact copy. That appears to be what may have happened with this Audi ad, though that is speculation.

ADDED I have it on good authority that the agency who made the Audi ad tried to licence the original but decided it was too expensive.

UPDATED Sept 15, 2013: Today's Sundar Star Times reports further on this...

Upset widow hears How Bizarre track in car ad [note: the song title is incorrect in both the online and print versions of this story, unless you read as suggesting that technically, it's off the How Bizarre album]

"... The issue came to light when Pauly and Kirstine Fuemana's children saw the advert on TV.

"The thing that upset me the most is that the kids were watching TV and saw the ad and they yelled out, ‘hey Mum, they're playing Dad's song'," she said. "I rang Pauly's publishing company because they usually run these kinds of things by me and asked them what was going on. They told me it might sound like it but it wasn't Pauly's song."

She was left to raise the couple's six children when Fuemana died in 2010. 

Land of Plenty's co-author Alan Jansson said he "felt sick" when he heard the commercial. "It was hideous because it just sounds so much like Land of Plenty. I've produced commercials so I understand how songs can be played around with in the studio and tweaked but it just sucks."

... Lawyers for Kirstine Fuemana and Universal Music have written to Audi, pointing out what they claim are "noticeable similarities" between the soundtrack for its "Land of Plenty. Land of Quattro" advert and OMC's 1996 hit single Land of Plenty. The song featured on OMC's multi-platinum chart-topping album How Bizarre.

The letter claims the advert's soundtrack could amount to "passing off and/or misleading and deceptive conduct under the Fair Trading Act, not to mention copyright infringement". It asks Audi to make a "sensible offer" to avoid further legal action.

... The lawyers' letter for Fuemana and Universal Music says the melody and shape of the lyrics are similar, the vocal delivery resembles Fuemana's, and the concept and lyrical themes are the same, with images in the commercial similar to the OMC video of the song. The commercial aired until mid-August.

Audi has indicated it is comfortable with its position. A spokesperson said it was considering the letter and would respond.... As a comparison, Tasti paid a six-figure sum to use Fuemana's How Bizarre as the basis of a new ad campaign for its snack bars, currently screening.

SST's Mike Alexander notes that "Audi has previously been taken to task over music use in commercials. American singer-songwriter Tom Waits won a landmark case against the car company in Spain in 2006. The Appeal Court in Barcelona ruled in favour of Waits after he accused the company of wrongfully misappropriating his vocal styles in a sound-alike TV commercial."

Updated Sept 22 2013: The Sunday Star Times reports that  TV advert song 'not a copy' - Audi

"... Audi denies the claim, saying its song was an original created for the commercial. It said while its advertising agency bcg2 had made early inquiries about licensing the chorus of Land of Plenty, the song proved too costly and not original enough as it had been used in another commercial.

"Advertising often looks to popular culture for its references, as does pop music and OMC's Land of Plenty is great, so we briefly considered it," said bcg2 chief executive James Blackwood.

"But Audi is a prestigious and innovative brand so we chose to create something new and unique."

Audi New Zealand said it took pride in its reputation for professionalism and integrity, and accordingly denied all claims that its song was not original. It said to prove its case, it had asked the head of the department of music at Otago University, Dr Graeme Downes, to analyse the two songs.

Downes said in his opinion there was no basis for plagiarism. "There is no coincidence of harmonic patterning, nor melodic patterning," a statement read. "Any similarity is based on a schema of recited/sung as a structural device that no-one can own. Tempo, grain of voice and instrumentation reinforce the differences to the extent this report has hardly had need to discuss them."

The song's author, Kiwi singer-songwriter Greg Johnson, also denied claims he copied Fuemana.

"To say I sound like Pauli (sic) is really ridiculous," he said. "I couldn't if I tried. No one could. To suggest I'm trying to pass myself off as OMC is blatantly untrue.

"I was pleased to be asked to write a tune for Audi as an expat Kiwi, celebrating the beauty of place, old friends and missing home.

"This is how I make a living, writing original songs. The song I wrote, Love to Live, is completely original. In short, all the lyrics, melody, chords, tempo and instrumentation are totally and utterly different."

ADDED Sept 29, 2104: Dear Audi, Thanks for Stealing My Music. Sincerely, Sohn.

1 comment:

Robyn said...

Ooh, that song has a very familiar structure. The original, of course, was officially used for a BNZ ad campaign in the early 2000s.