Shameful: Chevy Rips Off Dear Photograph

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Those of you watching the first game of the World Series most likely caught this new beautiful commercial for Chevy. It uses the backdrop of old pictures and Ray Charles' rendition of "America the Beautiful" to celebrate 100 years of Chevy.

Only one problem: they ripped the idea off of the existing blog Dear Photograph. You probably saw this blog getting passed around the internet this summer. It's wildly popular (56k likes on Facebook) and the idea was instantly identifiable. The author of the blog seemed surprised to hear the news and does not appear to have been contacted by Chevy or, presumably, Goodby.

This could be the best ad in the world but ripping bloggers off is incredibly not cool. People are already commenting about the theft on the YouTube video. Watch it for yourself and see if you agree.

It appears that theft also runs deep at Chevy. We don't dig this at all.

EDIT: The Author of Dear Photograph added this:


Long before Dear Photograph existed, I started my Looking Into the Past project, and began a Flickr community that has over 4000 members and 1700+ shots. Dear Photograph has done a great job curating nostalgic family photographs, but they are hardly the beginning point for this kind of shot. I was inspired by Michael Hughes, and I started my project in February of 2009.

Then again you could say that Taylor Jones ripped off Ben Heine. Not to stand up for a corporation like GM, but we're all creatives ripping off one another.

Jason and Roscoe,

Good points. (We're actually bigger fans of the way the photos are done in the Looking Into The Past project than Dear Photograph. And the whimsical/surreal nature of Ben Heine's work.)

It just feels very wrong to us when a corporation or agency takes something that is so well known and then runs it as is. If they were inspired by Dear Photograph/Heine/Looking Into The Past and created something that built off those, that's cool.

This is re-purposing the idea (but not really changing anything) to shill cars, less cool.

My grandma has a photo of her holding a photo of her gran in the same place and pose. It's very similar to dear photograph stuff. The photo of my gran was taken in 1934..... My gran is 88.
How old are you guys?
How long has your website... or even the internet been around?
Did Chevvy rip off my gran?
Or is it that sometimes REALLY good ideas get thought of more than once... And shared?
And sharing is cool huh?
Cooler than moaning you got no credit..... You didn't invent the idea, you just made it on the web..... They didn't claim to make a website.... Thus they didn't steal your idea.
Get over it.
Be thrilled by the fact other people are inspired too :-D

And credit to you Jason.... I found your site first.... And through that found out about Dear Photograph..... I never noticed you claiming they were copying.... It's such a good idea why can't everyone have a go?!


Even though the idea is old (congrats to your gran on being an innovator in the field) the proximity of this commercial to the popularity of DP is what bothers us. Dear Photograph spread the technique VERY recently and this criticism was not unique to our site.

Also, we are not connected with the Dear Photograph site. We are just concerned about creativity and innovation being preserved in the creative communities. Even those not related to marketing.


I first saw the idea with World War II photos, though more expertly done, those photos were done in June 2010.

There is a certain injustice to seeing an idea commercialized when steps for art's sake were already made by others. Unfortunately, unless the exact photos, the name of the blog, or its logo were used in the ad, there is no recourse. It is not illegal to hold up a photograph and take a picture of it.

This is post-modernism. The only thing you can do is embrace it. The Chevy ads will bring broader attention to the pioneers of the concept.

Let's not ignore the irony of this "shameful" injustice when arguably many if not most bloggers "co-opt" the content of others as their primary function ... hurts, doesn't it!

Not particularly. But we do agree that there are many blogs/bloggers who simply regurgitate other people's content. We try not to be one of those.

The first example of this I remember seeing was the Village Voices' 9/11 cover which predates the examples cited above.

Interestingly, that too got ripped off by Reader's Digest:

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