The nation’s two biggest out-of-home networks at the gas pump are duking it out in court as well as in sales pitches. In August, Gas Station TV filed suit against Outcast and Outcast’s vp of sales, Michael Mongelluzzo. Outcast filed to move the suit to federal court.
According to the complaint, Mongelluzzo, who worked at NBC when the company was negotiating with GSTV, is alleged to have stolen trade secrets and customer lists when he jumped to Outcast. The suit alleged he has been using that information to go after GSTV’s business. As a result, GSTV claimed the company had suffered over $1 million in directly attributable lost profits to Mongelluzzo’s “false claims” to advertisers and agencies. The suit covers six substantive causes of action, including trade libel, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, false advertising, and intentional economic interference.
Outcast is filing for dismissal. “We will defend ourselves in what we believe is a frivolous lawsuit and are confident we will prevail,” said Matthew Stoudt, CEO of Outcast. “We remain focused on our core business in delivering what we feel is a superior product and experience to our advertisers and partners.”
Whether the suit is valid or not will be decided by the court. However, some media buyers have already reached a verdict, indicating they were not impressed by Mongelluzzo’s negative sales approach, ruling it bad for a business struggling to raise its profile among advertisers.
“I have personally heard Michael say terrible things about GSTV. I don’t get it, I don’t like it and think instead of fighting with each other they should collaborate and try to lift the whole gas station/pump business and [digital out of home] industry. A rising tide lifts all boats,” said a buyer with one of the largest dooh buying groups who requested anonymity.