Manifest boss Alex Myers says agencies need to stand up for their intellectual property after claiming that BrewDog had executed one of its ideas, which was initially shunned, after the agency and client relationship had ended.
On Friday (10 May), Myers called out BrewDog on Twitter for launching an alcohol-free version of its IPA called "Punk AF" without crediting Manifest for the idea.
BrewDog founder James Watt responded by claiming that the execution was different to what Manifest had originally pitched while under BrewDog’s retainer.
Myers told Campaign sister title PRWeek that BrewDog had rejected the "Punk AF strategic concept" that his agency originally pitched and that the idea stemmed beyond the design of the can, which Watt had pointed out was different.
"There’s no animosity from my perspective with BrewDog, but at the same time I feel it is important that the leaders of our businesses in our industry don’t fall silent when creativity is being used without credit," Myers said.
"At the end of the day, creative is our currency. It wasn’t an emotional angry thing from my point of view – I was expecting it – it was more about pointing it out. There needs to be that radical candour."
Hey Alex! Manifest, did the work on left for us (whilst under retainer), we did the work on the right with a different agency. Not really the same……. pic.twitter.com/of8BcS8dOZ— James Watt (@BrewDogJames) 9 May 2019
Myers said if BrewDog had given Manifest creative credit, he "would be cool with that".
He said his call-out was driven by frustration that clients are in effect using creative ideas from agencies without any credit – something that he had experienced from a "major global sports brand, one of the world’s biggest entertainment brands and massive UK insurer steal our ideas".
"Everyone has got a war story about this kind of thing," Myers said. "It’s not an everyday occurrence and we’ve gotten much better at being explicit about protecting out IP.
"But I believe it happens more in PR [than advertising], because people do the creative within the itch process without payment. Whereas a lot of the time [in other discipline’s pitch processes] you don’t do the full creative until you are commissioned.
"It’s often with big brands – there’s this phrase in our industry called ideas mining, where you run a pitch process just to get ideas."
BrewDog did not respond to a request for comment at the time this artice was pubished.