Award-winning Malaysian agency seeks to contact UK designer after plagiarism claim

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 30 — Local advertising agency Dentsu Utama said today it took seriously a UK-based design student who accused it of stealing his design for an award-winning advertisement.

In a Reddit post yesterday, 21-year-old Tom Anders Watkins alleged that Dentsu Utama had copied his artwork for a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) ad campaign that won a Silver award for outdoor advertising at the Kancil Awards 2015.

“As an agency which is part of a larger global network, Dentsu Utama maintains very strict policies around the use of third party content in our creative materials and treats allegations of intellectual property infringement extremely seriously,” Dentsu Utama CEO Omar Shaari told Malay Mail Online.

“We understand that Tom has sent us an email but unfortunately we have not been able to locate it. We are in the midst of finding ways of establishing contact with Tom Anders to address this issue at hand,” added the head of Dentsu Utama, a member of the global Dentsu Aegis Network.

Anders, who is currently studying his final year of creative advertising at the University of Lincoln UK according to his website, tweeted yesterday from his @TomAnders_ account: “Hey, @dentsuaegis @WWF I think you may have blatantly copied my design in your award winning poster”.

The contentious Dentsu Utama WWF ad is titled “Cross River Gorilla” and depicts the critically endangered animal in circles, strikingly similar to Anders’ design. – MMO.

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