Pepe UK and its advertising agency, Leagas Delaney, are being sued by an artist who claims that they have used his work as part of a 10m pan-European advertising campaign.
Mark Pawson claims that the agency has infringed his copyright by using his work, called “Supermarket Sabotage with psycho-barcodes”, without permission.
Pawson says: “All I can say is that it is in the hands of my solicitors.”
Leagas Delaney’s chief executive Bruce Haines says: “We have offered him payment and he turned it down. It is now with the lawyers.”
The advertising campaign broke in March (MW March 24). It provoked controversy with its images of teenage suicide.
In a separate move, mobile phone company Orange says it will “vigorously defend” a writ issued by rival Vodafone.
Vodafone says that comparative TV and press ads run by Orange make false claims and infringe Vodafone’s trademark.
A spokesman for Orange says: “We took great care to ensure our claims were fair and detailed them in full to the Broadcasting Advertising Clearance Centre.”