By Joe Pulizzi published April 13, 2011

I Would Do Business with this Company

I know nothing about the company that produced this video.

After watching the video, I’m compelled to find out more about them.

Now that’s content marketing!

Thanks to Bob Leonard from acSellerant for calling this out.  It’s worth the time.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Nick Usborne

    Yes, a nice video. Yes, it might inspire you to work with the company. Right up to the point when you discover they took the idea from the French poet Jacques Prevert, who told this story many moons ago. His line was better too: “Spring is coming, but I won’t see it”.

    Would you work with any agency that plagiarized a great idea, with no attribution? Not me.


    • Joe Pulizzi

      Interesting Nick. I didn’t know that. Thanks for sharing this. Very important.

  • Nick Usborne

    I’m guessing someone on the creative team either took the idea directly from Jacques Prevert, or, like me, first found it referenced in a poem by the American poet, David Kirby, in his poem “On My Mother’s Blindness”. Maybe they figured nobody reads poetry any more, so they’d be safe.

    Hopefully, someone at will see this thread, and add an attribution to the video.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Actually, I’ll send them a note. It’s that important.

  • Nick Usborne

    Excellent. Please let us know if they respond, and what they say.

  • Nancy Scott

    I didn’t know the Jacques Prevert story either, Nick .. but this video brought tears to my eyes. It makes a timeless and universal point about the power of words. Borrowing an idea doesn’t feel like plagiarism to me. I think we all scour the landscape for inspiration. So, I have to give Purple Feather high marks for both content and delivery. The video itself is masterful.

  • LouiseBJ

    The version of this video I saw a couple of years ago is here: – apparently the short story winner of the 2008 Cannes Festival.

    Too close to be just borrowing an idea, in my opinion.

  • Nick Usborne

    Nancy, borrowing an idea is fine. Taking an entire story, from beginning to end, is plagiarism. Particularly, as you point out, because it is such a moving and beautiful story. Bottom line…it’s not OK to steal someone else’s creative work and claim it as your own.

  • Nancy Scott

    Ah, very interesting, Louise .. and I totally agree that the similarity between the Cannes winner and the Purple Feather ad goes beyond “borrowing an idea,” all the way to rip-off. But now I’m wondering if we should also consider the short film itself a rip-off of the Jacques Prevert story — or do we give the film a pass because it’s “art” as opposed to “marketing.” I’m also thinking that, perhaps, the ad agency got permission to adapt the short film. Fascinating case study in the exchange of ideas among various channels/uses.

  • Jeff Korhan

    Regardless of the source of inspiration, it still works for me. Thanks for sharing Joe.

  • David Kirby

    I’m sure that the video makers got the idea from some source other than my poem.

    For the record, you can find my poem here:“on+my+mother’s+blindness”&source=bl&ots=NisPgDfThP&sig=_K1QTz_bPvJOf6N6bFClwYzJsPM&hl=en&ei=x7SlTZ

    You’ll notice that, though I borrow the Prevert story, I do acknowledge it in my text.

    So, yeah, attribution is essential.

  • Katie Derek

    At least they made the video & I just saw it (without the ad from their company) & it inspired me & probably changed my life!

  • Lorraine

    I immediately saw the similarity between The Power of Words and Historia de un letrero, The Story of a Sign, the film LouiseBL notes. Historia de un letrero has been around for years and is frequently referenced by both copywriters and creative writers to emphasize the significance of careful, imaginative word choice.

    If Purple Feather didn’t receive permission to rework the film, their rendition is a blatant rip-off. In that instance, the film would be more noteworthy for plagiarism than compelling content.

    I look forward to learning The Power of Words backstory.

  • Nick Usborne

    David, hi. Your poem was where I first heard the story. I am a humongous fan of your poetry. Amazing to find you here. I feed my belly writing for money, and feed my soul reading and writing poetry. To find you here, during my “belly time” is a treat indeed.: )

  • amber

    They’re definitely walking a very fine line here. Plagiarism? Maybe. But the video was beautifully executed, you have to give them that.

  • Jeff Molander

    Makes me think. Doesn’t make me take action. Regardless if they’re borrowing it or not.

  • Todd Wheatland

    Great thread. Blatant rip-off. Even better, the 2008 Mexican short-story winner from Cannes that Louise pointed out was itself ‘heavily inspired by – without attribution to’ the 2006 Spanish short film ‘the Sign’, and in fact there was an active movement to have it de-frocked from the Cannes award.

    In my world I’ve come across people ripping off the videos called ‘Shift Happens’ or ‘Did you Know’; intelligent people, holding no ethical qualms about taking an idea and adding no new value or thought, let alone giving attribution. Judging by the number of similarly-named videos on youtube, I’d say they’re not alone.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks Todd…still waiting to hear back from the creators of the video. I sent them a note yesterday. Hopefully they’ll respond.

  • webfadds

    Hi –
    I like the video too, and hope it didn’t infringe on anyone’s copyright. For me, it underscores once again the need to always be testing and optimizing headlines (among other things).
    – Scott

  • Doug Allan

    I was sent this video this morning, and having seen “The story of a Sign” a year ago, I also wondered how ethically it’s recreation was handled.

    To the first comment on this blog post, I think if you look at the purplecontent video on youtube, you will see that they do credit the source right under the video, however that doesn’t show up here in the embedded version.

    Also, on the purplecontent youtube channel, you can see 6 pages of comments. On page 6, purplecontent gave credit their as well:

    “Thanks so much for all your comments! Full credit should indeed go to the originator, Alonso Alvarez Barreda who created Historia de un letrero, The Story of a Sign. We were so inspired by his film that we decided to help spread its message with a short homage. Filming in Glasgow sometimes means four seasons’ weather in one day… but it was beautiful when we started! 🙂 Music by Giles Lamb at

    interestingly, on page 3 of those comments, someone also mentions the situation with regard to “The story of a Sign” being an adaptation, (or plagiarism?) of an even older short Spanish film:

  • Andrea Gardner

    Hi everyone
    Apologies for the late response, we’ve been a bit busy!
    The Power of Words was created as an homage to Historia de un letrero, The Story of a Sign by Alonso Alvarez Barreda, a fact we’ve always declared on the channel.

    To be honest we never expected such a global response but we’re grateful for the attention it’s receiving. It’s the message that counts…

  • Libby Gu

    Not to suck the love out of the room, but how do BLIND people like the ad? Being protrayed as beggars on the street relying on coins being tossed at them in pity. What if she had changed the sign to what the man CAN do and hers otfound a way to pay him for it you know, a JOB. That’s what a caring inclusive society would do. The makers of this ad singled out a group and made them more pitiable. Imagine if they had helped an unwed black mother. . . the outrage of such a stereotype. Well, I’ll get off my soapbox. . .

    • Doug Allan

      you & I both know disabled people, in general, are not going to be fans of this story… but we also know the story is NOT about disabled people, charity, or employment… it is only about basic communication vs. effective communication.. and it wasn’t an “ad” in it’s original form.

      I agree that those who recreated it for an “ad” may offend a percentage of viewers, but they also probably picked a good “story” to attach their ad to, for selling effective communication to their market…

      IF they really covered all the bases for stealing an idea… which I don’t know anything about, but am interested to learn if more will come to light.

      I also think Andrea Gardner should consider adding the credit to the source up front, on the embedded version seen in this blog and elsewhere. As it stands, it’s buried a little too deep, as is evidenced by the majority of readers on this blog, and the one I first found it on.

  • Cindy

    My uncle emailed me this powerfully inspiring video. WOW! It brought tears to my eyes concerning many who have a disability and a real struggle. If credit was mentioned in this piece, perhaps viewers would understand the MESSAGE. If you didn’t feel inspired to be helpful in some way, please view the video again til it does touch your heart. Be positive

  • wjpeace

    Content marketing? I call it bigotry. Demeaning in the extreme.

  • liliana

    Esta circulando en la red un legitimo robo, plagio de ideas por favor no compartan este vídeo al contrario ayudemos a que el mundo sepa que es un robo de autor, realizado por la empresa Purple Feather LADRONES, el real es un cortometraje mexicano llamado Historia de un letrero dirigido por Alonso Alvarez Barreda, ganador en Cannes 2008. Empresas de publicidad petardas que solo surgen robando ideas, por favor difundir