Today: After The Loving’s Done, Hallmark Accused of Ripping Off Valentine’s Concept

About locally-based greeting card giant Hallmark‘s "I Love Us" Valentine’s marketing schmooze…

Original idea, or a movie concept ripoff? You make the call.

"Hallmark’s V-Day slogan ‘I Love Us’ was totally copied from (500) Days of Summer," reads advertising blogger Joe Dellosa’s Web site.

The slogan "appears to have been copied from the film," Dellosa says. "In fact, in the film, it’s used by a greeting card writer in the context of writing greeting cards."

Another embarrassing black eye for the hometown team that’s been accused before of ripping off others ideas?

Hallmark’s defense?

"Hallmark said via its Twitter account that Leo Burnett, the company’s agency of record, is responsible for the ‘I love us’ commercial," Dellosa says.

Here’s what the voiceover says in Hallmark’s video commercial for the slogan:

"Valentine’s Day is not for saying ‘I love you.’ It’s for saying, ‘I love us.’ I love who we are together, how we’ve grown — from our nervous conversations to the one we two have become. Valentine’s Day is for taking the time to say, ‘I love us.’"

"Adorable stuff!" Dellosa quips. "Or, at least, it would be if Valentine’s Day hadn’t become a crassly artificial holiday that seeks to commodify our emotions and homogenize the way we express our love as a means to boost corporate profits, while fomenting awkward, hurtful feelings among couples and mopey misery among singles…"

Dellosa’s bottom line: "I’ll say this about Hallmark’s ‘I love us’ campaign — they totally stole that line from the movie (500) Days of Summer. Check out this screenshot from the movie:

"Okay, admittedly, ‘I love us’ isn’t exceptionally unique, and it’s certainly possible that the ad team behind the slogan didn’t pilfer it from the movie," Dellosa continues. "But, c’mon — (500) Days of Summer is an extremely well-regarded movie about a greeting card writer, and presumably, ‘folks who work for a sentimental greeting card company’ is as about as perfect target audience for the film as I can imagine. I find it very, very hard to believe that nobody thought, ‘Hey, wait! "I love us" and greeting cards — sounds familiar!’

"For what it’s worth, if you Google search "I love us," a reference to the clip linked above is the third result. And if anybody on the ad team had bothered to begin typing "I love us’ into Google, they’d see Google eagerly suggesting (500) Days of Summer:

"I should note that I’m far from the only person to make the (500) Days of Summer connection; searching for "hallmark 500" or "hallmark summer" on Twitter offers dozens of tweets using words like stole, rip-off, unoriginal, and swag jacker."

Hey, give Hallmark and it’s ad agency credit for having good taste in movies, Dellosa says.

"With real news happening, it’s more amusing than scandalous, although Leo Burnett probably ought to be at least a little embarrassed that their creative integrity is being thrown into doubt with such a high-profile campaign. And besides, if Leo Burnett — on behalf of a company like Hallmark whose name is often used pejoratively to refer to shallow, commercialized sentimentalism — wants to steal from a movie, there are few better films from which to do so than a movie as honest and real than this one."

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