Cadbury's, their Kate Moss hologram – and a lawsuit from beyond the grave

The Alexander McQueen Company was last night considering legal action after the confectioners Cadbury released a Flake advertisement featuring a floating female figure which allegedly resembles the late designer's famous 1996 hologram of Kate Moss.

The similarities between the advert and the spectacular hologram that appeared at the end of McQueen's autumn/winter 2006 collection, first shown in Paris in March that year, have left many in the fashion industry outraged, with friends suggesting the concept dreamt up by the designer – who died in February this year – had now been "crassly copied" for commercial gain.

A spokesman for the Alexander McQueen Company said: "We are seeking legal advice."

When television viewers see the new Flake advert, they may, for a moment at least, marvel at its inventiveness as they see an elegant model dressed in a swirling yellow dress against a dramatic black backdrop.

But for those who attended McQueen's fashion show the similarity is offensive. The swirling image, beamed as a hologram at the end of his catwalk show, hit the headlines for featuring Moss, who was mired in scandal after being caught on camera snorting cocaine.

By using the model for his sensational stunt, McQueen was considered to be rehabilitating her image in the fashion world.

The hologram was co-created by McQueen and Baillie Walsh, a film director who worked with the designer in 2006, and who is now responsible for creating the Flake advert. The advertising company Fallon enlisted Walsh for the project. The director was unavailable for comment yesterday. The dress for the commercial has been designed by Antony Price.

A Cadbury spokesman acknowledged that Walsh's past work was one of the motivating factors for hiring him but remained unapologetic over any passing similarity to McQueen's show.

"This is about Baillie Walsh's work," said the spokesman. "It was his house style that attracted us rather than any previous work he had done. The Alexander McQueen show is not relevant. His previous work was one of many of our visual references but not the only one. We would not accept the charge of imitation."

The spokesman added that the concept for the advert came from Walsh rather than from the company itself, which merely wanted the yellow dress to represent the chocolate's wrapper.

Last night, the internet and blogosphere were teeming with outraged McQueen supporters, some of whom left messages on YouTube the day after the commercial was first aired, including one which read: "I'm fuming. A corporate giant trampling over a dead man's legacy. This surely cannot be legal." Another read: "Even though it's directed by the same guy who did the Alexander McQueen hologram it doesn't mean that the hologram idea was his to copy."

A friend of McQueen's yesterday said the late designer was "always incredibly proud and protective of this idea. The fact that he cast Kate Moss for the hologram was highly significant given the public perception of her at the time."

But as far as the realities of the advertising world go, the industry is by its nature parasitic, and unapologetically so. Larissa Vince, deputy editor of the ad industry magazine, Campaign, said that in some ways, this could be taken as a tribute, instead of an insult.

"I have no idea whether they [Cadbury] were influenced by Alexander McQueen but advertising exists in order to be influenced by and ideally influence popular culture," she said. "There is very little in any creative sphere that could be considered entirely original. From time to time, people get upset that one ad is too similar to another. If you look at it another way, it exists as a tribute. There is no copyright in ideas."

Ms Vince added that the timing of the advert – so close to the death of McQueen – may have sparked the passionate response from within the fashion world.

"It's still quite close to McQueen's death and there are quite a lot of people who still feel upset by it," she said. "This advert comes at a time when it's fresh in our minds and we would would perhaps expect this reaction."

McQueen's suicide was announced on 11 February this year. He was found hanged by his housekeeper at his home in London. He died nine days after the death of his mother, Joyce, 75, to whom he was very close. His death devastated the industry; he was a famously modest, well-loved designer and one of the biggest talents in fashion. He had had a stratospheric rise since graduating from Central Saint Martins and working for Givenchy before founding his own labels.

Inspired ads or rip-offs?

* The 118 118 promo was challenged by the British runner Dave Bedford, who claimed that the ad's moustachioed stars were based on his image. He filed a lawsuit against the telephone directory company, arguing it was making money on his image without permission, a claim which was upheld although 118 118 was allowed to continue with the campaign.

* Passion Pictures, which produced the Sony Bravia advert with the colourful bunnies, would have been pleased with the plaudits it received. That is until images of an earlier-made and very similar-looking artwork called Play-Doh by LA illustrators Kozyndan surfaced. Passion Pictures MD Andrew Ruhemann has strenuously denied that his company "ripped off" the image.

Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
A photograph taken by David Redferm of Sonny Rollins
people
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Business Development and Analytics - TV

competitive benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Outstanding analytic expertise is req...

Head of ad sales international - Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you the king or Queen o...

Business Development Manager Content/Subscriptions

£50k + commission: Savvy Media Ltd: Great opportunity to work for a team that ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker