- T-Mobile ran a Super Bowl ad that was directly inspired by a viral tweet from 2017.
- In the ad and the tweet, someone mistakes a rideshare driver for a concerned friend.
- T-Mobile didn’t rip off the tweet. Instead, the carrier licensed the joke, according to the person who originally posted the fake text screenshot.
One of T-Mobile’s Super Bowl commercials was inspired by a viral tweet.
But, despite social media conspiracies, this is not an example of brands callously ripping off memes.
T-Mobile’s ad, which aired in the third quarter, shows a text conversation that starts with the words: “Hey Mike. I’m just letting you know I’m here.”
Mike responds by thanking the sender and saying things have been rough lately.
“I meant I’m here,” the original character texts. “Outside. This is your Lyft driver.”
The conversation was noticeably similar to a tweet posted in December 2017:
It was a quiet car ride pic.twitter.com/F9ubGUoHAI
— decent pigeon (@decentbirthday) December 14, 2017
Some people condemned T-Mobile for seemingly ripping off a meme.
— Karl Fredrickson (@FredricksonKarl) February 4, 2019
Nice of @TMobile to rip off a viral tweet from like two years ago…
— Brent Heiden (@BrentHeiden1) February 4, 2019
“Can I copy your homework?”
“Okay yeah just change it up a bit so it doesn’t look obvious you copied.”
— jh (@notJHclash) February 4, 2019
However, according to the person who posted the original tweet, T-Mobile actually licensed the joke. Instead of tweeting about feeling ripped off, @decentbirthday has been tweeting in support of the ad.
— decent pigeon (@decentbirthday) February 3, 2019
Often, people who create memes fail to receive credit or payment when they are repurposed by other people or companies. In this case, however, it seems that T-Mobile actually did the right thing, resulting in a feel-good Super Bowl advertising story.
Neither @decentbirthday nor T-Mobile immediately responded to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Here’s the full ad:
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