BlackBerry South Africa objected to what might be considered as a tongue-in-cheek advertising campaign by Liqui-Fruit because it believes the adverts exploited and imitated BlackBerry’s brand’s goodwill and made misleading claims.
The three adverts in question also mimic three of South Africa’s leading mobile operators, Vodacom, MTN and Cell C, especially in terms of their branding, services and slogans.
The advert mimicking Vodacom makes use of the “Vodacom 4U campaign”, which reads “Blackberry 250 4U,” Cell C’s slogan was altered from “the power is in your hands” to read “the juice is in your hands,” and MTN’s “Ayoba” was altered to read “Ayoberry”.
Some of the adverts marketed a competition in which entrants could win BlackBerry mobile phones.
BlackBerry argued Liqui-Fruit had no permission to use the mobile company’s branding, which, according to BlackBerry, tends to indicate the two companies worked together.
However, ASA dismissed the claim by BlackBerry that Liqui-Fruit’s adverts were too close to BlackBerry’s own promotional marketing.
Furthermore, ASA ruled Liqui-Fruit cannot be banned from using the word “blackberry” to describe the juice product, since it is blackberry juice the company is selling.
ASA defended BlackBerry against the capitalisation of both B’s in “BlackBerry”, since this constitutes as an infringement of the mobile company’s registered trademark.
The ASA ruling said: “While it appears that it may be acceptable to use another party’s trademark in advertising for the purpose of identifying the product as a prize in a promotion, this does not give the relevant advertiser free reign to do with that trademark as it pleases.”
Following the order by ASA to remove the advertising campaign, Liqui-Fruit is not allowed to continue with the campaign in its current format, which does not feature a second capitalised B.