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Plagiarism charges, credit hogging in adland sour social media timelines

Adland is no stranger to plagiarism and credit hogging. Recently, Ajay Shukla, ECD, Dentsu Creative has been accused of plagiarism by a former colleague, Diwesh Dishu for an idea that was conceptualised by him at his previous agency Publicis

By  Aashrey BaligaMar 16, 2023 3:01 PM
Plagiarism charges, credit hogging in adland sour social media timelines
Ad spats in adland continue. From plagiarism to credit hogging, agencies and brands battle it out on social media. (Representative image by Etienne Girardet via Unsplash)

Plagiarism has always plagued the advertising and marketing world. Many times when we see an ad campaign do we feel that we’ve seen something similar before? Sometimes it’s a continuation of the same concept and most of the time it can pass off as an inspiration. But when does inspiration turn into blatant plagiarism? Where does one draw the line?

In the past there have been a few claims of plagiarism as well. Naresh Gupta, co-founder, Bang In The Middle took to social media to say that in a media release, WeBeeSocial was wrongly credited as the creator of the campaign for brand ResMed featuring Indian Rapper Baba Sehgal. The social media post sparked a fair share of arguments between Naresh Gupta and WeBeeSocial’s director and head of digital marketing, Shubhendu Jha.

Another instance, Amer Jaleel, ex group CCO and chairman, MullenLowe Lintas Group took to LinkedIn to talk about a Motilal Oswal ad. Back in 2017, Lintas used to manage the Motilal Oswal account. They had come up with a series of ideas back then that Motilal Oswal had built upon in 2022 when they released the ad.

In a conversation with Storyboard18, Jaleel spoke about issues of ownerships and about ideas being replicated. He said, “Everyone must understand the simmering discontent that is widespread over ideas being pulled out of one agency’s remit and handed over to another.”

“Let’s say the brand idea was co-created, then both equal constituents should at the minimum need to seek the approval of the other before using it elsewhere? Of course it would be amazing if that were to be followed by a usage fee? Or a walkaway fee? But if not, ‘permission to use’ will at least keep reiterating the contribution of the creators and that’ll remind of the value of the idea and inculcate an attitude that’s more responsible towards intangible hi sahi, but assets all the same.”

Ad spats in adland continue. From plagiarism to credit hogging, agencies and brands battle it out on social media.

Recently in the news was another incident where plagiarism by a party was claimed. A concept for an ad pitched at one agency was used for another ad in another agency.

Ajay Shukla, executive creative director, Dentsu Creative has been accused of plagiarising an idea from a former colleague at his previous agency Publicis. Diwesh Dishu, joined Publicis in September 2018. He claims that an idea that he had pitched to Ajay Shukla (then ECD and Publicis), never saw the light of day. However, recently, he alleges the same idea was used for another ad campaign by Shukla at Dentsu.

Dishu put out a LinkedIn post explaining the entire situation. All of adland is perplexed. Back in 2021, Dishu and his team had come up with a concept for an ad for the food brand Chings Hakka Noodles. They shared and discussed the idea with Shukla over call as well as email. Dishu claims that there was a lot of discussion over the idea, hence it didn’t come to fruition.

Now however, the idea has seen the light of day but not in the way you’d expect. Ajay Shukla who is now ECD at Dentsu Creative seems to have used the same idea for a new client, Aditya Birla Sun Life.

This claim has been supported by screenshots of text messages and emails regarding the same idea between Dishu and Shukla and have been added to the LinkedIn post.

Storyboard18 has reached out to both agencies as well as both parties regarding this. The story will be updated with their response.

First Published on Mar 16, 2023 2:57 PM