T-L/DDB Case May Impact National Ads

DALLAS – New York attorney Robert Calag warned last week in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that clients and agencies will have to be more wary about using people in national ads who sound like popular performers. The high court allowed a lower-court ruling to stand that awarded singer Tom Waits $2.5 million because Tracy-Locke/DDB Needham here and Plano, Texas-based Frito-Lay Inc. improperly copied his raspy voice in a radio spot for Doritos brand chips. Calag represented Seaboard Surety, T-L/DDB’s insurance company, which will pay the $2.5 million to Waits. Calag said national ads will be at risk of lawsuits if they run in California – the only state with laws protecting style and the state where the lower court had ruled in favor of Waits.
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