30th August, 2012
Dear *Leo Burnett,
I am writing you this open letter as a director of Asylum Films, a supplier of video content to Leo Burnett in the UK. It concerns a recent piece of work we have done for your client, Ronald McDonald House Charities. I very much appreciate your time in reading this, and will keep it short.
We are a smaller production company, taking steps into larger online and TV content. With this in mind, we were approached by Leo’s to help with the job mentioned above. It was on an extremely tight turn around and small budget. Motivated by the project and working with an agency such as yourselves we pulled out all the stops producing the job and bringing in a difficult shoot, over two nights in a working NHS hospital. This is the result http://asylumfilms.co.uk/work/commercials-idents/rmhc/. We are most proud of it, and feedback from the team and the client was very positive. It was recognised how hard we had worked to turn the job around to such a standard with the constraints we had.
A few days ago a new video for RMHC was released to the press through Leo’s as a first national campaign. This is it http://bit.ly/N1kfsS. It is essentially our piece of work reshot and redone with a bigger budget. Not only the concept, but lighting, the feel and shot selection are almost identical.
At no point were we consulted on this or even told about it happening as a courtesy, and certainly not asked about our ability to create this new version. We feel hugely aggrieved by the situation. It is hard for smaller companies to make the transition into doing work with bigger agencies, but we feel we have the experience and showreel to do so. We take on these smaller and difficult jobs as a way to prove our abilities for future work and to start to build a relationship, putting in hours and getting production values that exceed what might be expected from the budget. Our agility and creative ability is our stock in trade, and to feel we, and it, has been used in this way is disappointing to say the least.
In short, our work and creative content has been copied and reused, without any consultation or recognition.
I feel that no one would wish to run an organisation that knowingly exploits young and emerging creativity, as such I am bringing this matter to your personal attention.
Asylum Films Ltd
*We have removed the name of the individual we addressed as he was receiving personal attacks. This was never our intention