McDonald's is being accused of copying a cult animator's work in one of its ads

Cyriak Harris, a surrealist British animator with a cult following, has accused McDonald’s of copying one of his videos for an ad campaign.

The “Vacas” spot, for McDonald’s in Latin America, features a herd of cows dancing in a field.

On Tuesday, Harris tweeted the resemblance between the scene from the ad and one of his own videos, “cows & cows & cows,” which also depicts cows bopping away in a field.

One of Harris’ Twitter followers pointed out that a person, purportedly from the Visual FX firm behind the ad, posted the video to a forum and mentioned they were inspired by the animator’s work:

A user in the “NewTek” forum commented that the cows reminded them of Cyriak’s video.

“Leandropedrouzo,” who claimed to be from Juan Solo VFX Studio (a 3d animator called Leandro Pedrouzo is listed on the company’s website), responded: “Actually Cyriak was the reference for this Spot. The director and I wanted to go a bit more realistic but the client loved the ref.”

McDonald’s and Juan Solo VFX Studio did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.

Cyriak’s “cows & cows & cows” video has notched up more than 37 million views on YouTube since it was posted in 2010:

This is not the first time McDonald’s or one of its agencies has been accused of copying ideas from previously-published works.

Last year, McDonald’s was forced to apologise to a pair of freelancers who accused the fast food chain of stealing their idea — a montage of a mock engagement with a burrito — in a Twitter marketing campaign. McDonald’s Twitter photos also carried a mock engagement theme and strongly resembled the freelancers’ images.

McDonald’s apologised and removed the photos from its Twitter feed.

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