Etonic Stands By Ad Campaign And Greenberg As Archrival Footjoy Takes Its Case To Court

Apparently unfazed by a lawsuit attacking its latest advertising effort, an Etonic executive said the company will not pull its ads and vowed to stand by Greenberg Seronick O’Leary & Partners, the Boston agency that created the campaign.
FootJoy last week filed suit in U.S. District Court in Delaware, claiming that its reputation is being damaged by Etonic ads that make reference to FootJoy golf shoes.
In the ads, which feature a hapless duffer named Lloyd, Etonic claims that its spikeless shoes are less harmful to golf courses than shoes offered by FootJoy. The executions mention the FootJoy brand by name [Adweek, April 27].
In the lawsuit, Fairhaven, Mass.-based FootJoy claims it has been making golf shoes without metal spikes, similar to the footwear touted in Etonic’s campaign, since the late 1950s and is asking a judge to force Etonic to withdraw the ads and pay unspecified damages. Arnold Communications in Boston handles advertising for FootJoy, a unit of the Acushnet Co.
FootJoy executives did not return calls by press time. In a prepared statement, FootJoy executive vice president Jim Connor asserted: “We have brought this action in an effort to ensure that the consumer is not subjected to false and misleading information in the marketplace.”
Karen Pitts, marketing director of Etonic in Chicopee, Mass., said the company has no plans to pull the broadcast and print ads, which are running on TV during coverage of professional golf events and in golf magazines. Media spending is believed to be more than $2 million.
Media placement is being handled by Boston-based Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, which works for Etonic parent Spalding. The agency recently took over media duties for Etonic, fueling speculation that it will also soon pick up creative chores.
Pitts denied that assertion and added that the FootJoy lawsuit also would not affect Greenberg Seronick’s position as creative agency.