Uh oh. We’ve gone and made torontoist.com mad at us. It seems they think the line drawings in one of our Johnnie Walker Union Station posters bears a little too much resemblance to their logo.
* In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention I’m an avid reader of Torontoist (it’s top-left on the main tab of my netvibes feed) and a member of their flickr group.
I wasn’t part of the team that worked on the poster, though, and I wanted to get their side of the story, so I sat down with Matt Prokaziuk, the copywriter for the poster.
Matt: I was amused, actually. I sent the link to my Mom. In the end, I’d rather have people say something about my ads than nothing, even if it isn’t entirely positive.
Mike: And the accusations that you and Simon [Simon Au, the art director] might have, uh, borrowed the design from their website?
Matt: [Laughs] You can’t own a silhouette! We actually went to the CN tower, laid it on its side, traced it, and then reduced it on a photocopier. So technically they’re ripping us off!
Mike: No really. How did you do the artwork? Did you have an illustrator?
Matt: No. Simon did them. He took photos of his own, traced them and then smoothed out some of the rough edges and messed around with the perspective on some of them.
Mike: And it’s not the Toronto skyline you’re portraying?
Matt: Totally not the Toronto skyline. The Johnnie Walker global campaign is all about progressing and moving forward and evolving. Hence the whole “Keep Walking” tagline. Our idea was to pay tribute to some of the most noteworthy architecture of the past few decades, so we put them in the order in which they were built.
Mike: So, I ask you, Matt, once and for all, did either you or Simon copy the logo from the Torontoist?
Matt: [Laughs] Unequivocally no. I hadn’t even been there until you sent me the link and Simon, though he hides it well, can neither read nor operate a computer.
Mike: Ha! I’m sure he appreciates you telling everyone.
Just to put Matt’s assertions to the test, I downloaded some photos of city hall and traced them. I got pretty much the same as the ad, the Torontoist logo, and, incidentally, the City of Toronto logo.
In the end, it sounds like Torontoist is flattered that there is a coincidental resemblance between the two pieces and Matt and Simon are happy that someone noticed they make ads. Win-win.
(As a side note, since the Torontoist has been unrelentingly critical of the Toronto Unlimited campaign and we’re the new agency for Toronto Tourism, I’m sure they’ll have a thing or two to say about our work once it starts to appear. I’m just happy we didn’t do any work on the Westside Lofts or they'd never leave us alone.)