Advertising déjà vu? Co-operative Bank social experiment follows in the footsteps of The Warehouse—UPDATED

  • Advertising
  • April 27, 2016
  • Damien Venuto
Advertising déjà vu? Co-operative Bank social experiment follows in the footsteps of The Warehouse—UPDATED

Last week, the Co-operative Bank released a short, hidden-camera styled clip via Socialites designed to showcase Kiwi generosity.

The video shows an elderly man at a register trying to pay for goods only to realise that he’s $2 short.

He then proceeds to remove an item from his shopping bag, but before he gets too far a few kind Kiwis step in to help him out.

Since its publication on Facebook on 20 April, the video has already been viewed 1.3 million times—indicating that the video achieved the desired goal.

The only problem is that it’s been done before in New Zealand, as recently as December (and there has also been a host of international social experiments like these).

Earlier today, Contagion’s managing partner Dean Taylor pointed out that there were some clear similarities between this campaign and the one his agency did for The Warehouse at the end of last year.

“Copying is the biggest form of flattery,” Taylor said in commenting on Co-operative Bank campaign.

“But advertising should always be about originality. It’s our duty to clients to be aware of what else is out there.”

StopPress contacted Socialites founder Wendy Thompson about the similarities between the two campaigns, but we are yet to receive a response.*   

As an interesting aside, both these campaigns were produced for major clients by agencies not considered the agency on record.

The Co-operative Bank usually works with Y&R NZ while The Warehouse is a DBB client.

What this shows, once again, is that clients are becoming more willing to work with a number of different agencies on a project basis. But, this is only to be expected, with an ever-increasing number of channels being serviced by a continuously expanding collection of specialist agencies—and sometimes those specialists are stepping into the creative territory.

However, what the above ‘coincidence’ above shows is that producing original creative isn’t always as easy as it looks.    


Thompson has responded to the criticism of copying by saying that social experiments are really nothing new.

"Candid Camera has been around since the 1970s, and we would never claim that this was a completely original piece of work. We were, in fact, inspired by the success of the recent New Zealand Police campaign, to be honest."

Thompson also added that the public has responded "incredibly well" to the campaign and that the Co-Operative Bank "is delighted with the results".

"We've definitely met our brief," Thompson adds.    

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

Whittaker's divides the court of public opinion – but all for a good cause

  • Advertising
  • February 22, 2019
  • Caitlin Salter
Whittaker's divides the court of public opinion – but all for a good cause

On Monday, Whittaker’s launched its latest novelty chocolate-lolly mash up with a chocolatey answer to retro bakesale treat coconut ice. The Coconut Ice Surprise chocolate has a twist though, 20c from each block goes to Plunket – a charity which New Zealanders agree is a worthy cause. However, to relate the chocolate to the charity, Whittaker's has built the campaign around baby gender reveal parties, causing a backlash from the public who argue gender norms have expanded beyond blue for boys and pink for girls.

Read more
Next page
Results for

StopPress provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2019 ICG Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.


Contact Vernene Medcalf at +64 21 628 200 to advertise in StopPress.

View Media Kit