Coca Cola Shamelessly Rips Off Evan Hecox In New Billboard

Here’s more of Evan Hecox’s work, to further illustrate how they are robbing his style.

Two weekends ago I was out running errands and I stopped at the light at Franklin and Cahuenga which is pretty much the most northern end of Hollywood. I stop in the left hand turn lane, and dead ahead of me I see a billboard that shocked the crap out of me. It’s a Coca-Cola Zero ad with Evan Hecox-esque artwork. I studied it for as long as I could, and as I turned left I said to myself, “There’s no way Evan did that.”

So last night I went out to the corner of Franklin and Cahuenga, took the photo above, and sent it my friend Andy, who just happened to see Evan last weekend. Andy said to Evan, “Hey Evan, I saw the billboard you did for Coke”, but I guess Evan was bummed because he didn’t do the billboard. Evan said that the ad agency called him to do it, but he turned them down.

Yet again another big company is churning out their own shitty versions of awesome artwork just to make a buck. Some of you might remember the Sony Bravia commercial that ripped off Kozyndan? To me this is the very same thing, it’s totally shameless. I don’t drink soda, so I can’t exactly boycott them, but I’m definitely going to do my damndest to spread this post around to as many blogs as possible, and hopefully Coke will catch a clue that stealing someone’s artistic style isn’t going to sell more sodas, it’s going to get people upset.


42 Comments Coca Cola Shamelessly Rips Off Evan Hecox In New Billboard

  1. Tom April 22, 2008 at 10:59 AM

    I’m not familiar with Evan’s work, but it also looks a whole lot like Hope Ganglof.

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  3. BobbyBobby April 22, 2008 at 11:12 AM

    Tom: It sort of does, but it’s definitely meant to mimic Evan Hecox’s work.

  4. maxjue April 22, 2008 at 11:47 AM

    at least the Kozyndan rip-off looked semi-decent.
    This just looks like shit.

  5. Jefferton April 22, 2008 at 12:25 PM

    I don’t know if Evan can really be that pissed. Fine art is ripped off all the time for commercial purposes… at least the ad agency tried to get the real thing in this case.

  6. BobbyBobby April 22, 2008 at 12:32 PM

    No one said Evan was pissed, I said I was pissed.
    The fact that he was asked to do the campaign, and then they mimic his style is totally underhanded. As for fine art, what are you talking about, paintings that are hundreds of years old? You can’t exactly go and ask Da Vinci to help with ad campaign.

  7. Bjorn April 22, 2008 at 1:53 PM

    Hmm… the ad agency wanted Evan. Evan turned them down so they looked for an illustrator with a simular style to Evan’s. What is wrong with that? As long as they don’t use Evan’s artwork I can’t see a problem here.

  8. hannah April 22, 2008 at 2:30 PM

    Coke’s ad firm illustrators know EXACTLY what they done. They know the difference between riffing on an established artist’s style (like Magritte or Warhol) and directly imitating an emerging artist.

    Tom Waits has successfully sued for kind of infringement:

  9. Benjamin April 22, 2008 at 2:43 PM

    I have always been a big fan of Evan’s work for Chocolate. Coca Cola obviously wanted their ad in a certain look, and they set their mind on Evan Hecox’s style. I understand, that if there has been a lot of work, around the idea of his style, before he turned them down, it can be hard to start all over. But I see this result, as being not very creative… I bet they could have found another artist, with a unique style, who would have worked with them…

  10. Veronica April 22, 2008 at 4:21 PM

    My best friend was an animator on the Sony Bravia bunny commercial, and even she said it had “striking similarities” to kozyndan.

    Evan was recently in Jux, wasn’t he?

    It really burns me that there are so many artists who will say to an agency “Oh yeah, I can do it like him/her, but for cheaper!” AHRRRGH!!

  11. Brad April 22, 2008 at 4:53 PM

    It’s possible that it’s Adam Haynes. His style is similar to Evan’s. It still sucks that the agency found an artist to imitate the style of another artist, but if it is Haynes he isn’t imitating, that’s just his steez.

  12. ian April 22, 2008 at 6:29 PM

    happens all the time. they gave him an opportunity at least. many times no one will even ask. when $ are the only criteria and you can get a similar look for cheap, why not? you are only answering to an accounting staff not to an artistic moral authority.

  13. Tyler April 22, 2008 at 6:31 PM

    I don’t see any similarity. I think you’re grasping at straws.

  14. Garrett April 22, 2008 at 7:47 PM

    Yeah, me too Bobby. You probably think there’s similarities between Theodor Geisel and Dr. Seuss. Or Richard Bachman and Stephen King. Or light grey and light light grey. Or Tyler and a moron. Oh wait – those are all similar. In fact, they’re almost the same exact things.


  15. Tony April 23, 2008 at 1:13 AM

    I find it worse that an illustrator agreed to copy another illustrators style. I expect ad agencies to do this type of thing.

  16. Jawabiscuit April 23, 2008 at 12:16 PM

    I saw this exact billboard on the way to LAX. I wasn’t shocked and appalled just because I didn’t know it was a rip off. Now that I do, i’ll be sure and spread the word. I don’t have a massively popular blog but, I will let my friends know.

  17. marcus April 24, 2008 at 7:54 AM

    Look at the the history of art on skate decks and logos. It’s all ripped off from other shit. I agree that the skateboarding industry has some totally rad, influential artists, but fuck dude, everyone bites everyones shit.

  18. Ites April 24, 2008 at 8:49 AM

    Gimme a break. Every so-called skate/underground/pop artist borrows and sometimes steals for inspiration. You can’t exactly copyright a style that is so easily mimicked. Don’t get me wrong, I love Evan’s stuff, but I think there is a double standard here.

  19. BobbyBobby April 24, 2008 at 9:42 AM

    I’d love to hear who Evan Hecox is ripping off? Please inform me, because I’ve never seen anyone who’s been doing the things he’s been doing ever, and he’s been drawing like this since at least the mid-90’s.

    Also think about the fact Coke is a multi-BILLION dollar company who is now cashing in on someone else’s unique talent. Evan Hecox isn’t a skateboard company either, he’s an artist, so comparing the two doesn’t make any sense.

    The apathetic comments that have been posted on here so far are pretty sad and bullshit. It’s okay for Coke to steal, it happens all the time. What if you were an amazing artist and they decided to “borrow” your style, then how would you feel? It’s a little different when the shoes on the other foot…

  20. paul April 24, 2008 at 1:13 PM

    Totally bitten from his Evan’s artwork.


    Hecox is completely original..doesn’t get his style from anywhere. It’s been there all along.

    So sad that Illustration is going in this direction. FUCK COCA-COLA.

    I agree with whoever wrote that this is ‘underhanded’ … so fucking lame its depressing.

  21. b April 24, 2008 at 6:18 PM

    did anyone take a look at the link i sent?
    I think that’s a pretty big deal and it has a lot to do with this sort of thing. I know my comment isn’t about that particular artist, but if that Orphan Works bill goes into effect much worse things will happen than some company mimicking another artists style.

  22. Rawls April 24, 2008 at 7:10 PM

    I don’t think its really that underhanded that coke did that. Not that I’m lovin on coke, I don’t…but they obviously asked him to do their ad for a reason…that reason being they liked his style and wanted it in the ad. He turned them down. So in turn they had to find another source..either someone with a similar style, or someone who could rip his style without sucking too bad at it. Either way it is kind of a bummer, but mostly because He turned them down and that it could have been his work on the billboard, not some imitation.

    And yes, everyone should look into the Orphan Works bill. Baaaad stuff for us artists.

  23. D April 24, 2008 at 8:16 PM

    quick criticism — think about the fact that by “spreading it to as many blogs as possible” you are giving coke buckets of free advertising. How much would a 640 X 250 ad cost on this site? Well you just handed that over to Coke. They care simply about exposure, no matter whether it is positive or negative.

    As hard as it is, it’s probably best to ignore it.

  24. BobbyBobby April 24, 2008 at 8:19 PM

    Ignoring a problem never makes it go away.

  25. chris April 24, 2008 at 9:52 PM

    hah, you’ve got to be kidding, that style is everywhere and I can list three artists that that work could just as easily be from. Its a trendy style, what, you expect art to be original? nothing would ever get made.

  26. BobbyBobby April 24, 2008 at 9:59 PM

    Oh please, enlighten me Mr. Art Pro. I’d love for you to show me someone who’s been drawing like Evan Hecox since before the mid-90’s. If you can show me THREE of them I’ll buy you a fucking Coke, haha…

  27. ubi de feo April 25, 2008 at 5:30 AM

    I might have less sense of style of anyone else,
    but I don’t really see a knock-off…
    I just think that the coke advert is ugly enough to be distinguished by the real artwork…
    I don’t see the use of orange as a detail stolen from the artist.
    maybe I’m just too little sensitive :)

    amazingly beautiful work from Hecox…
    the quality (if any) of the coke ad is really low and the dude drinking is very badly produced.

  28. tega April 25, 2008 at 8:01 AM

    i really don’t get it. the coke as is a run-of-the-mill vector drawing. the other is an old school anime style drawing. they both have street signs. what am i missing here? they’re not similar enough for it to be a rip-off. coke has a hip urban image it wants to present and just because it had the smarts to try a great artist like hecox and then settled with a shittier similar artist to achieve the goal they started with means nothing. don’t get your panties in a bunch

  29. ron April 25, 2008 at 9:33 AM

    i take photos and trace them in illustrator too along with thousands of other people. consider me unimpressed with evan hecox’s revolutionary original style.

  30. BobbyBobby April 25, 2008 at 9:57 AM

    Tega & Ron: You guys must not know anything about Evan Hecox or his art. He doesn’t paint anything near to being anime (which is a cartoon, japanese drawings are more commonly referred to as manga) and he doesn’t trace anything in any computer. He hand paints giant, beautiful pieces that are absolutely amazing.

  31. bryant April 26, 2008 at 8:50 AM

    Aren’t you guys supposed to be hating on the ad agency and not Coca-Cola..? For all we know Coca-Cola doesn’t even have any idea on what’s going on. Same shit with Sony. This whole “stick it to the man” crap is seriously going out of hand.

  32. drew April 28, 2008 at 8:24 PM

    it’s like looking at a chocolate skateboards deck design (which evan does the illustrations for).
    Coke have a responsibility to make sure their stuffs original regardless of whether an ad agency or whoever designs their stuff. They’re blatantly plagirising, but i guess they can continue to get away with it because of the ‘artistic license’

  33. Johnny Smith April 30, 2008 at 10:11 PM

    I’m not sure how my son’s picture was used in this campaign. We drove by one of the billboards in LA and were stunned. Anyone know who the ad agency is? Let me know how and where I can post his pic and you will see it is him!

  34. nich May 1, 2008 at 2:30 PM

    isn’t evan part of the blkmrkt collective that didn’t some identity stuff for mountain dew? blkmrkt could have been contracted by coke and evan ended up being the one working the project.

  35. BobbyBobby May 1, 2008 at 5:01 PM

    Except he didn’t do it, that was established from the very beginning.

  36. Zeldz June 3, 2008 at 7:11 AM

    There is also the fact that perhaps the artist did not want to be associated with a company like coke. By using a style that has such obvious similarities to the artists, the ad agency is also affecting the ‘brand’ of Evan Hecox. Fortunately, the coke billboard will be forgotten with the gust of a fresh ad campaign, where as I’d like to think the artist’s work will stand the test of time.

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  38. Debbie B August 30, 2008 at 4:51 PM

    My best friend thinks this guy is her son. Does anyone know who the guy is that modeled for this Coke Zero ad? Please help me. Thanks.

  39. boxpen October 31, 2008 at 8:30 PM

    hmm there is being influence and then copying this is very amateur from the agency and coke cola both if they want to continue progressing then being original is a good start the way i see it is if the contract those not happen with a artist you wish to use then go to plan b and rethink your campaign by
    going completely different, in this campaign the illustration is like hecox work i mean look @ the color way the red which i think is one of is trademark and more…. i never email to these comments i have to say this is awful..

  40. saudade November 2, 2009 at 6:46 AM

    evan’s art is not new or original. this style of illustrations have been in the art world for more than ten decades in cuban poster making and throughout asian. now, i am not knocking evan’s work but, if he borrowed it then others will as well. it is the way of the arts.

  41. James February 14, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    As Mr. Hecox’s style owes a HUGE debt to the late, legendary British urban designer and illustrator Gordon Cullen (who by the way influenced a generation of architects, urban designers and illustrators)I can’t agree that the “style” can be considered “completely original” as one comment suggests; certainly not proprietary. Cullen was a hugely influential editor and contributor to The Architectural Review in the 1960’s; his seminal work was the book “Townscape” (still in print now as “The Concise Townscape”), which is still required reading in architecture and urban design schools. When I first saw Hecox’s work I assumed they were Cullen pieces I was not familiar with; with the exception of Hecox’s brightly colored inks the styles are indistinguishable. Mind you I’m not complaining; I love the work of Cullen and Hecox, and like many other designers who draw I owe a great debt to Cullen as well.

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