Ogilvy-Vivo settlement: A beginning or an opportunity lost?

While some industry leaders have hailed the development, others have said that industry bodies need to find ways to protect Intellectual Property Rights

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: Nov 26, 2019 8:01 AM


Ogilvy Vivo

After weeks of speculation with respect to the Ogilvy-Vivo plagiarism row, Ogilvy is believed to have submitted a withdrawal application in the court last week, and the agency officially gave a statement on Monday saying that the two parties have reached an amicable agreement.

The spat had put the spotlight on the issue of plagiarism in what was considered the first-ever major move where a big agency has taken a client of that size to court over allegedly ‘copying ideas’.

However, the fact that the matter has been settled out of court has evoked mixed reactions from the industry.

Some have hailed the move like industry veteran Srinivasan K. Swamy, Chairman, RK Swamy Hansa Group. “The point was made when Ogilvy took Vivo to court. The matter must have been satisfactorily discussed and resolved for Ogilvy to settle the matter out of court. There is little merit to prolong the agony when you can settle it like mature adults,” he said.

According to Rohit Ohri, Chairman and CEO, FCB India, “I think there has been enough attention drawn to protection of Agency IPs. This will be enormously beneficial for creative agencies going forward.”

However, another creative leader who didn’t wish to be named said, “The battle had the potential to become a bigger one, for agency rights which perhaps it will not be any more after this settlement.”

Adding to that thought, another agency head said that the need of the hour, now that the Ogilvy-Vivo case has been settled, is for the industry bodies to nip the problem in the bud, taking lessons from the nature of the case. Virat Tandon, CEO, MullenLowe Lintas Group said, “I think the industry bodies have to take this forward and find systemic ways to protect the Intellectual Property Rights. I believe there is some conversation already and steps are being taken.”

When asked if the out-of-court settlement has led to the fight dying a premature death, as some industry leaders are saying, Priti Murthy, CEO, OMD India said: “It has already made its impact I believe - Ogilvy for taking action and Vivo for resolving. Our industry runs on trust and partner relationships, so the resolution is best for the industry. A war will never benefit any party.”

Meanwhile, Vivo issued a statement saying, “We, at Vivo, strive to grow together with our partners, the local community, consumers and shareholders. Vivo has been built on strong ethical and contractual foundation and the Vivo family takes immense pride in its values. We are happy to resolve the concerns with our partners – Ogilvy - and look forward to working with them in the future.”

Dentsu Impact has also spoken out after the settlement: “As the issue is now resolved between Vivo and Ogilvy, we do not wish to provide any further comments. However, we stand by our earlier statement and reiterate that what we created is completely our original work, and we have always maintained this before the Hon’ble Court, as this is the fact. We are an agency of strong integrity, ethics and brilliant creative talent. We have absolutely no reason to resort to any kind of plagiarism, as we have no dearth of talent in our agency and have enough great work and awards that prove our worth.”

While the agency and the client have reached a consensus in this matter, it remains to be seen if this case will go a long way in determining how clients and agencies treat each other here on.

Whether a relationship based on mutual trust can be formed. And whether industry bodies can take the discussion forward to avoid a situation like this in the future and turn this into a new beginning as opposed to an opportunity lost for the creative industry.

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