Oh No You Di-int! – Berlitz Language School Rips Off My Obama Graphics

Trying to cash in on Obama’s cachet, a new print ad for the Israeli branch of Berlitz was just released – and it is litigiously similar to the ad I designed back in July 2008. Let’s compare:

[singlepic id=92 w=250 h=368] [singlepic id=136 w=250 h=368]
Copywriter: Shahar Golan Advertising Agency: Grey, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Executive Creative Director: Yonatan Stirin
Creative Director: Moti Rubinstein
Copywriter: Uri Shoham
Art Director: Karin Gross
Account Manager: Dani Brande
Account Supervisor: Noa Heinemann
Account Executive: Mor Gluska


Here are a few relevant comments from the I Believe in Advertising blog:

ahoovi said on January 22, 2009 @ 10:55 am:

another great *copy* from the adler/grey/copyhouse…
it was actually used at the obama campaign –
in shirts:
and in posters:
apparently all you need to be an absolutely brilliant copywriter is to use google…

uri said on January 22, 2009 @ 2:28 pm:

Dear ahoovi,
As the copywriter of this ad, I can assure you that I thought about the idea by myself. I didn’t use Google, as you did. Further more, the creative was to use the phrase in the right context.
The question is that- can we believe that two human minds might think about the same idea?
Yes we… you know what? its not important if you believe me or not.
Keep on the Google work.
Uri & Karin

Rich said on January 22, 2009 @ 4:28 pm:

Ouch. Copycat spoted.

Hebrew Obama Merchandize Spotted in New Hampshire

I started designing Hebrew pro-Obama graphics eight months ago in response to the Rovian smear campaign that was peaking at the time. I was appalled by the Newspeak that started gaining more and more strength, even to the point of bringing down prominent democrats with ‘as far as I know’ statements, changing discussions about ‘the war’ to discussions about ‘the surge’, pushing the ol’ familiar dichotomy of ‘one of us’ versus ‘one of them’.

Now, each day scores of people visit my Obama posts, usually because Google in its infinite wisdom has ranked them high in the image search results, but since I never expected my symbolic protest to go beyond its virtual existence, I am amazed to get from time to time evidence of my design crossing to the real world. Yesterday I got an email from an Obama supporter in Massachusetts named Brian, saying:

Attached are two photos of me campaigning for Obama in New Hampshire in a Yes Oui Ken shirt. A group of friends all went to New Hampshire together, and we went from house to house talking to people about the need for a change. We had many good conversations. […] Afterwards I wore the shirt to a dinner with a group of Rabbis and Jewish friends, and they all loved the design. […]

[singlepic id=98 w=310 h=240 float=center] [singlepic id=97 w=175 h=240 float=center]

If you want a shirt like Brian’s, or want to show your Obama pride in a button, just download the graphics, and use CafePress, Zazzle, or similar online printing services – or go green and visit your local print shop:

Hebrew Obama Poster: CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN | frgdr.com

Hebrew Obama Poster: YES OUI KEN | frgdr.com

Hebrew Obama Poster: YES OUI KEN | frgdr.com

Hebrew Obama Poster: YES OUI KEN

When I created my first Hebrew Obama poster, I never imagined it would become one of the most popular posts on my blog, lead to a couple of interviews in the media, and that I will get asked to create additional graphics in Hebrew for the campaign. And so, as the Illinois Senator arrives in Israel this evening, I thought it would be appropriate to publish my latest creation.

Following are my new Hebrew posters, one in blue and one in white:

[singlepic id=92 w=400 h=800 float=center] [singlepic id=93 w=100 h=200 float=center]

To download a ZIP file containing a print-size JPG and PSD, click for
the BLUE version, or here for the WHITE version.

– Use the graphics in any way you see fit, as long as it is not for financial gain, and as long as it gets Obama elected.
– You can use CafePress, Zazzle, or similar online printing services to print merchandize for you and your friends, as long as you do not set up a public shop.
– If you have used the graphics online or printed it and held it in an Obama rally, it would be nice if you could send some photos and share the joy.
– Feel free to link directly to the original post on my blog, but do not link directly to the files.

Make sure you check out my other design:
Hebrew Obama Poster: CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN | frgdr.com

I will elaborate a bit on my artistic decisions:
While the literal translation of ‘yes we can’ to Hebrew (‘KEN ANU YECHOLIM’, כן אנו יכולים) was what I aimed for when I started this project, it quickly proved to be unacceptable from a graphic point of view: unlike the English words, each one spelled using three letters or less, the third Hebrew word (YECHOLIM) is spelled using six letters, thus breaking the balance of the original design.
Since the original slogan became so prominent in the official campaign, I had to exercise some ingenuity if I wanted to incorporate Hebrew into it, and so YES WE CAN soon became YES OUI KEN, affirming the candidate in English, French and Hebrew, correspondingly. Yes, it’s a trick, but I was forced to use it.

Now let’s talk fontology:
Just like with the previous poster, I used WhatTheFont?!, which helped me discover Arial MT Black is a pretty close match to the original.
For the Hebrew word KEN, I first tried Hebrew fonts but none did the job, and so I decided to use the English letters O and I, the former was changed to look like a the Hebrew letter KAF and the latter was extended to look like a NUN SOFIT and not like a VAV.

The original English PDFs were downloaded from here (now defunct).