Leo Burnett KL threatens to sue Tan Chui Mui and Da Huang Pictures

Leo Burnett Malaysia has issued a demand letter to filmmaker Tan Chui Mui and her film production company Da Huang Pictures to retract recent plagiarism allegations made against the advertising giant over the “Rubber Boy” commercial.

“This demand has been issued (by its lawyers) following Mui’s unfounded allegation (on her Facebook posts) that her story regarding Rubber Boy was copied by Leo Burnett,” Leo Burnett Malaysia said in a statement.

This development comes a day after film director of ‘Rubber Boy’, Ismail Kamarul published his defence on his Facebook, over the amount of work put into the film.

Tan has earlier posted a series of accusations on her Facebook, since 24 June that indicated plagiarism of Leo Burnett over the well-known film.

Leo Burnette said: "Despite an earlier explanation to Da Huang Pictures that their treatment and the Rubber Boy web-film have different storylines, Tan continued to make these false allegations through her Facebook page."

“The key elements including the message, the characters, the setting in the rubber estate and the emotions, are very much a part of the agency script, which was shared with three directors in 2014 including Da Huang,” the agency explained, adding neither Tan Chui Mu nor Da Huang Pictures furnished those key elements.

“There appears to be an intention to cause damage to the Leo Burnett’s reputation and that of its clients through these social media postings, which were shared and later picked up by mainstream media,” it added.

The Rubber Boy spot was created during Chinese New Year this year for clients Petronas by Leo Burnett and has over 3 million views to date.  The webfilm drew its inspiration from Malaysian values which is about counting blessings to inspire prosperity and happiness. ‘Rubber Boy’ revolves around the relationship between a mother and her son, capturing facets of their relationship.

"In order to safeguard Leo Burnett’s name and reputation, and that of its clients, Leo Burnett has no alternative but to initiate legal proceedings if Tan Chui Mui or Da Huang Pictures refuse to retract the statements. Leo Burnett views these allegations seriously and will leave it to the courts to decide on the matter," it added.