MasterCard, famous for not putting a price tag on certain intangibles in its durable "Priceless" campaign, has come up with a nice round figure on its latest endeavor. Price of a lawsuit? $15 million.
MasterCard last week filed suit against HBO for trademark and copyright infringement after the cable network came out with a national print campaign for its comedy Arliss, about a hard-nosed sports agent. "Negotiating shoe contracts: $270 million," reads the copy. "Having no scruples: priceless." Andrew Shevin, account manager at Seiniger Advertising, Beverly Hills, which created the print ads said, "It was a tribute to one of the best campaigns out there."
A spokesman for MasterCard drew a distinction between "Priceless" parodies, which have appeared on Saturday Night Live and were meant to entertain, and the Arliss ads: "HBO is obviously using it for financial gain, advertising something that they want consumers to buy."
Apparently, there are indeed some things money can't buy, including a sense of humor.
- Richard Linnett