Why do Lands’ End and L.L. Bean have the same cover?

That weird synchronicity that saw A Bug’s Life and Antz released just a month apart in fall 1998 strikes again. Look at these two catalogs we just received in the mail. (My husband’s eagle eye caught this.)

How did this happen? Were the covers inspired by images trending on Pinterest or something? Or are they the paint-by-numbers result of market research data analysis? Or maybe brainwashing by aliens? 🙂

There are photography styles that catch on and become widespread to the point of cliché. But it’s not just the general idea that’s been repeated here. From the little girls’ identical hairstyles to the moms’ and daughters’ similar pajama styles to the light shining through the windows beyond the airborne daughters to the positioning of the lamps in the corner, these two photos are like twins.

Inspiration is cool. Copying is lame. It can be hard to tell the difference.

But if these were student papers in a freshman composition class, I might be suspecting “plagiarism.”

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. My blog is a space for playing with ideas about creativity, innovation, lifelong learning, and the nature of "insight."
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5 Responses to Why do Lands’ End and L.L. Bean have the same cover?

  1. mworfolk says:

    Whoa! That is eerie in its similarity. My suspicious instructor mind also leapt to “plagiarism!” 😂

    Like

  2. flissw says:

    I reckon the companies will be checking whether they’ve accidentally commissioned the same PR agency – and firing them 🙂

    Like

  3. Oh my that’s not good!

    Like

  4. Rose says:

    That is bizarre since Bean is east coast and LE is Midwest. Is it just coincidental? Is it the latest
    modeling pose for younger families? Trendy ballerina buns. Advertising leak, possibly??

    Like

    • That’s what I was thinking. (advertising leak) it reminded me of 13 Going on 30, if you’ve seen that movie, where the competitor magazine keeps scooping our heroine’s magazine and running the same photos and stories right before hers comes out.

      Like

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