Imitation = Flattery?

In Bangkok, copying the work of others is so prevalent that flattery is not even part of the equation, nor shame. The latest ad by the city’s leading department store to promote the offering of a “dream getaway” to its shoppers is not even a thinly veiled duplication of Longchamp’s autumn/winter 2010 ad (below); it’s a conceptual and visual rip-off. In this case, advertising is no longer an outlet for the expression of creativity, but an amplification of the lack of creativity. Sad, since this is supposed to be for cosmopolitan Bangkok, not shabby Patpong.

The original ad of the French leather goods brand was shot by the duo Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, featuring Daria Werbowy. It has a discernible whiff of the French love of sailors, quite reminiscent of Jean Genet’s Querelle of Brest, only not overtly sexy and not suggestive of murder and vice. Still, there’s something Gallic and romantic about it. The Thai version may appropriate these qualities, but it does nothing for a retail brand that’s nearly as old as Longchamp, and allegedly proud of its Thainess.

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