Ron Geiger, a good friend of mine who is a copywriter watched my TED.com talk about the lack of copyright protection in the fashion industry and he suggested I take a closer look at the advertising industry. Here’s what he said:
Trademarks are running amok as brands try to own common phrases. (“You’re fired!”) For the most part, though, it’s still very much the wild west — everybody copies everybody — for better or worse. Maybe that’s why writers are called “copywriters.”
I haven’t seen anybody talk about advertising in this vein. Like fashion, advertising both fuels and feeds off the zeitgeist. A culture of copying is essential for both because the establishment and dissemination of a trend (which has a pretty clear commercial dimension) are dependent upon repetition and reiteration. Here was his response:
Exactly. It’s like the zeitgeist in a hall of mirrors. Each brand trying to reflect the trend that will capture their target’s attention. Repeating what they want to hear, but in a way that seems fresh. It’s never ending… fortunately. Because it pays my bills!
(You da bomb, Ron!)