Canon and Carlsberg in ‘same ads’ slip-up

Brands’ Euro 2004 campaigns use similar imagery. It may be too late for either to back down

Drinks company Carlsberg and electrical goods brand Canon are facing a stand-off after both unveiled plans to use similar advertising campaigns around the Euro 2004 football tournament this summer.

The conflict is over both companies wanting to use the concept of excited football fans, with their faces painted in the colours of the European countries taking part in the tournament. The advertising for Carlsberg was created by roster agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, while the Canon work was developed by cdp-travissully.

The clash is understood to involve primarily the print and poster campaigns planned around the tournament by the two companies. The campaigns were due to be launched next month. It is not known whether the companies’ television ads will also be affected.

An insider close to Carlsberg says the two companies will enter “crisis” talks about which should use the idea, although he adds there may not be enough time to change the campaigns before the competition kicks off at the beginning of June.

He adds: “It is very unfortunate as there is not much time to change the approach. But we all want clarity of message, so it is not great to have the same campaigns.”

A spokesman for Canon confirms that “there seems to be some similarity between the two campaigns over the face-painting theme”. He adds that the clash is understandable, given the universal nature of the ad campaign.

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