Joe la Pompe, since 1999

“Masked to unmask copycats.”

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The Piñatex case. Scam? Or the legit relaunch of an existing idea

At Cannes Lions Festival , one of the projects that have been awarded in Design, innovation and Creative Business Transformation (Grand Prix) is creating controversy on platforms like Glassdoor and Linkedin. Is it really an original idea?
What’s the exact role of the creative agency?

The Project Piñatex was submitted by the creative agency Lanfranco & Cordova NY (in partnership with Ananas Anam and Dole) and has been awarded several times across prestigious awards shows like D&AD, One Show, and Clio’s. And helped the agency Lanfranco & Cordova NY, to be named as one of the industry’s most innovative independent creative agencies.

After seeing several users claiming the project already existed before. We went to do some research. We thought we were in front of the typical case where an agency gets “inspired” by another project and produce something similar, changing some features or characteristics of the idea.

But we found something slightly different and concerning at the same time. The Innovation Piñatex, created by Ananas Anam, was developed and launched years ago, around 2014. The articles we found around the project described the leather made with pineapple leaves in the same way that the case study submitted by Lanfranco & Cordova NY. What is more surprising to us is that back then, there was no mention of the creative agency (L&C NY) or the client (Dole) 

After watching the case study repeatedly and comparing it with some of the videos and articles dated 7 years ago, we couldn’t find a clear difference between what the agency described have done and what was initially published by Ananas Anam.

The Guardian article – 2014

Piñatex video 2016:

Dole & Ananas Anam/ Piñatex 2022 Case Study:

Credits: Gian Carlo Lanfranco, Rolando Cordova, Giancarlo Rodas, Tescia Deak, Greg Collins, Greg Collins, Ana Lins.

*Source: D&AD:


This situation is concerning because, acting in goodwill, the agency should clearly define its role in the project. Now what comes across the case study is that L&C played an integral part in creating the innovation called Piñatex. Which, after analyzing the facts, seems not accurate.

 Suppose the agency’s role was other than helping the organisation create the leather. In that case, that should come across clearly, so the viewer understands that the agency didn’t actually help to develop the leather, that their creative effort was put into something else. 

We hope the team involved in creating the case study can clarify many of the doubts many people in the industry are expressing across social media platforms. Because so far seems like the agency has been awarded for the wrong reasons.

We feel the responsibility to share the situation because rewarding a behavior like this sends the wrong message to thousands of creatives worldwide that trying to emulate this way of getting awards will end up bending their ethics and morale in the chase of shiny metals and undeserved credits.

It seems to us that it’s not really an isolated case, but something Cannes Jury Members should take into account and think about. Another similar example is the “Vertical Bike” by Honda (Agency : Ogilvy lima, Peru). The agency present this as a breakthrough innovation, but in fact this kind of climbing machine was created years ago!