Does Etihad's IPL ad bear a striking resemblance to Volkswagen USA's ad from October?

The resemblance was initially noted by Karthik Srinivasan, a communications strategy consultant. He shared on LinkedIn that the concept of searching for a comfortable seat was originally developed for Volkswagen USA by the agency Johannes Leonardo in October 2023

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Delhi: A recent advertisement by Etihad Airways with CSK players MS Dhoni, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Deepak Chahar is facing backlash for mirroring another advertisement of Volkswagen cars. 

This was first pointed out by Karthik Srinivasan, a communications strategy consultant. He pointed out how the ‘looking for a perfect seat’ idea was first conceived for Volkswagen USA, by the agency Johannes Leonardo, back in October 2023.

He wrote, “Dear Etihad, please have a chat with your ad agency that came up with the idea for the latest ad featuring Dhoni where he is referring to the comfort of your business class seat.”

Etihad’s advertisement shows Dhoni seeking the perfect surface to sit on and he settles for the seats in Etihad’s business class. This looks pretty similar to the ad for Volkswagen where the woman could be seen looking for a comfortable seat and settling for the car seat. 

Etihad’s ad: 

Volkswagen’s ad: 

A user remarked, “While it's not uncommon for ads to share similar themes or concepts, it's important for each brand to maintain its uniqueness and originality.”

Another chimed in with a twisted wordplay based on the ad and remarked, “Talk about a 'comfortable' level of inspiration! Maybe they thought if it was in business class, the idea of theft wouldn't be noticed!”

One person commented on Srinivasan’s LinkedIn post that Etihad did not fly CSK to their matches and given that the IPL is being held within India, the utility of the flight service and its relevance to the league was also questioned.