Advertising: parody of hamsters and broiler chickens

Campaigns from Wakker Dier (an animal rights organization from the Netherlands) are always highly criticized. More often than not the complainant is not the company that is being criticized, but the “innocent” consumer. Prior to the hamster weeks at Albert Heijn, a new campaign is started in which two hamsters speak with a cripple broiler chicken. (To explain, Albert Heijn is the largest super market chain in the Netherlands. Hamsters are being used as mascots for bargain weeks.) A complaint was filed against this commercial.

The complainant claims that the campaign is too negative for Albert Heijn and therefore contrary to good taste and morals. It is commonly known that the Advertising Code Commission is very liberal when it comes to good taste and morals. In a way anything is allowed, as long as it is not contrary to the truth, public interest, or unnecessarily damaging.

Research from the University of Wageningen has proved in 2011 that of all live stock, broiler chickens have the worst life. It is also not contrary to the Advertising Code to mention a supermarket by name. In 2013 the ACC had already indicated in other complaints that Wakker Dier is free to ventilate her opinion. The parody with hamsters not excepted. It is allowed to use advertising properties as long as there is no confusion. The complaint was therefore rejected.


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?
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