Tank Goes Up Against British American Tobacco Over ‘Cigarette Pack Books’

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Usually the worlds of book publishing and tobacco companies don’t mix. But this interesting piece in the Guardian, “Battle Ahead for ‘Cigarette Pack’ Books,” found by way of One Good Move, finds a situation where the two are butting heads. It’s a story about the small publishing house Tank creating a series of classic books to resemble, in size, shape and design, packs of cigarettes. But British American Tobacco claims that they have done too successful a job at mimicking the originals and have since involved lawyers in the debate.

Baker & McKenzie, the London law firm representing BAT, claims the “rectangular device, white background…circular device and a stripe across the top of the box” are the “dominant and distinctive elements” that belong to Lucky Strike. Furthermore, such packaging “is likely to deceive members of the public to believe that BAT has either endorsed, sponsored or is in some way connected” with the books, a confusion “which can dilute the goodwill in the Lucky Strike brand”.

Masoud Golsorkhi, co-founder and creative director of Tank, which is based in London, said: “I had been toying with the idea of using the cigarette packs for some time. When we heard about the smoking ban it seemed like it was now or never.

“I thought that producing a book that was small enough to be easily carried everywhere with you, like a packet of cigarettes, could be a good alternative – and the packaging made it fun.”