SUIT ENMESHES 2 CHIAT CLIENTS BODY SHOP, SHOPPERS DRUG SEE NO CONFLICT FOR AGENCY

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TORONTO-The ad flap between Body Shop International and drugstore Shoppers Drug Mart is on its way to court.

The matter is an embarrassment to Chiat/Day here, agency for the drugstore's $13 million account. The agency's London office in October was named worldwide strategic communications consultant for the Body Shop, (AA, Oct. 17).

The suit filed in Federal Court of Canada here last week by the Body Shop alleges trademark infringement and seeks unspecified damages. At issue is a Shoppers Drug Mart direct mailing last month to 8 million homes that claimed Shoppers' Rialto skincare products are as effective and half as expensive as the Body Shop's.

The Chiat-created ad ran as a spread in a coupon book. The agency is not named in the suit.

A Shoppers Drug spokesman declined comment, but Chiat executives here said there was no conflict, noting the two offices operate independently.

"There is no issue [regarding the London agency's relationship with Body Shop] from Shoppers' standpoint," said Jay Bertram, a partner at Chiat here.

A Body Shop Toronto spokeswoman said she was at first surprised to learn Chiat was working for both companies but said she has since been reassured by Body Shop International and Chiat that there's no conflict.

A Body Shop spokesman at the company's U.K. headquarters agreed. "No, we don't have any concerns," the spokesman said. "Body Shop is working with Chiat/Day's London office, on an international basis. The executives who work on our account are in no way involved with" Body Shop rivals.

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