Zeeman underwear and functional nudity

Dutch discounter Zeeman always features a segment of its offerings in their ‘it can be that simple' campaign. After socks and men's underwear, a new commercial runs on women's underwear. Different women in underwear briefly flash on the screen focusing on the buttocks, making it clear that the featured underwear is comfortable and good looking. A complaint is filed deeming the commercials’ imagery negative, tasteless, misogynist and sexist.

 

The Dutch Advertising Board disagrees. The fact that buttocks are visible does not make the commercial inadmissible. There is a clear link between the product being advertised (women's underwear), the images and the text in the commercial. No sexist or misogynous message is conveyed. The commercial is not in breach of good taste or indecent.

This is in line with earlier rulings this year. For example, another complaint against an advertisement titled 'Safety all-through winter without skidmarks' featuring a picture of a lady lowering her bikini bottom, promoting winter tires, was honoured. Nudity is allowed, as long as it's functional (source image: YouTube commercial Zeeman)

advertising-law



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IP quiz Trademarks

Puma is one of the bigger sports and lifestyle brands in the world. The core-business is the design, development and sale of (sports) shoes, (sports) clothing and accessories. In 1960, Puma registered an international trademark for a device designed in 1958: the formstrip. Since then, Puma has registered approximately 90 formstrip trademarks with validity in the Benelux or the European Union. Puma claims that this is a serial mark. Monshoe is a wholesaler of women's shoes and related products. The company designs and develops Monshoe shoes which it largely markets itself. Monshoe sells its women's shoes under the brands Shoecolate and Pearlz. The shoe Shoecolate is offered in various colour combinations. Puma claims that Monshoe infringes its well-known formstrip trademark. Monshoe contradicts this and states that the average consumer will not perceive the device of Monshoe on the sneakers as a trademark. And if the public will recognize a trademark in the decoration, it will not make the connection to Puma. According to Monshoe, the formstrip logo is not a well-known trademark within the meaning of the BVIE and the UMVo. There is no likelihood of confusion because the sign does not or hardly evoke any association with Puma among the public. In light of the above, who is right? Does this constitute decorative use or linking to a well-known trademark?