MasterCard has reluctantly filed a lawsuit against Ralph Nader and his presidential campaign committee, seeking to stop them from running a promotional ad misappropriating MasterCard?s award-winning 'Priceless' campaign. The lawsuit was filed only after repeated requests to the campaign committee to stop running the ads proved unsatisfactory
The ad, which has been running on national television, clearly violated MasterCard?s copyrights and trademarks, and may mislead viewers into believing that MasterCard is endorsing Mr. Nader?s campaign. MasterCard does not endorse political candidates.
The success of the ?Priceless? campaign demands that we protect it from those who attempt to use it for their own promotional purposes, without our permission. This is not a commentary on Mr. Nader?s candidacy and we fully appreciate Mr. Nader?s desire to promote his views.
It?s important to note the difference between spoofing an advertising campaign and copying one. Spoofs are non-promotional and non-commercial, such as those that have been done on Saturday Night Live, Late Night with David Letterman and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. We have never objected to these spoofs since they are not done for promotional purposes, but for the sake of humor.
MasterCard International Customer Service Center
Your Original Message Was:
I have a stack of MasterCards. I must be a good customer because you keep sending me stuff.
I want to register my disapproval of your lawsuit against Ralph Nader. You folks need to lighten up. Satire is a legitimate use of public figures or corporate symbols. Our political debates are bad enough as it is, without your harrassment of an interesting political figure. Nobody is going to confuse Nader's ads w/yours. His ads were not even a criticism of MC. God knows it would be possible to think of a few.
I could pay off the balances on my MC's in a New York minute, if I wanted to. I hope you back off on this lawsuit.
Please don't send me some bullshit form letter in response to this.
Thank you for your attention.
Max B. Sawicky