32: Borrowing Ideas, Great Art

by oconnellcm

“Good artists borrow; great artists steal.”
-potentially Pablo Picasso

I personally hold the belief that all great art is stolen. I have several prime examples of this. Quentin Tarantino, for instance: all of his movies are homages to older ones. Django Unchained? Blatantly ripped off an old movie named Django. The Terminator? Plundered from an old episode of The Outer Limits. Picasso’s La Mademoiselles del Avignon? Pilfered from African art work. All of it, stolen.

That does not make those artists any less of artists. Artists are thieves – they steal from their world, and they steal from other artists. They make lots and lots of money off the ideas that other people came up with, and the original thinkers get no credit. That’s just how the world works. It’s all about who can hide their thievery the best, or who can reform others’ ideas the best.

McDonalds, as controversial an institution as they are, has great marketing. Beholden this commercial.

Imagine: a scenario in which a guy and a girl are irrevocably in love. Obnoxiously in love. All of their friends hate them. He gives her a kidney, even, when she gets chronic kidney disease. Over-the-top in love.

Then, he pulls out an e-cigarette as they sit by a fountain in a park. She asks for a puff of it, and he laughs her off. She huffs and stands up, suddenly pulling out an AK-47. The man jumps up, and leaps in slow motion around her bullets. Then comes the hand-to-hand combat. As the battle ensues, the man appears to win. Then, as all hope seems lost, the woman flies out of nowhere and drop kicks her former lover, stealing the e-cigarette in the process. She clanks off sassily in high heels.

While some might see this as thievery, others might see it as a new take on an old idea. Isn’t that what much of progress is? Taking old ideas and reforming them to suit the needs of the new age? What if the guy and girl shared their technology, like their Netflix accounts? Using new technology in an older commercial idea could make it something a little more modern, a little more relatable to the current generation. And of course, keep them interested and buying.

Borrowing ideas is not thievery. It’s art. And borrowing great ideas from commercials will make for great commercials. Given, they’d have to be significantly altered to avoid infringement, but the core ideas can be similar. Looking to the most popular (and successful) Youtube commercials can be a start.

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