Unilever's Spanish rival ignores watchdog's ruling

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MADRID -- Asociacion de Autocontrol de la Publicidad (AAP), the Spanish ad industry's self-regulation body, faces its first challenge since its creation 12 months ago with a refusal by frozen food company Pescanova to withdraw a TV ad in spite of an AAP ruling against it.

Unilever subsidiary Frudesa complained to the AAP regarding the Pescanova campaign for its fish finger product, claiming that the use of a sea captain figure was 'blatant plagiarism' of Frudesa's long-running 'Captain Igloo' character.

The AAP upheld the complaint and publicly applauded Pescanova's decision to withdraw the ad. Pescanova has said however that the AAP had misinterpreted the end of a campaign as a withdrawal and that it plans to re-run the ad.

Pescanova is not a member of AAP and claims that Unilever can not attempt to establish its exclusive rights to use of such 'generic symbols' of the sea.

The AAP has had all its other decisions complied with and has said that it could now be forced `reluctantly' to expel Young & Rubicam, Pescanova's agency. It has also called on its member TV companies not to air the spot.

Copyright February 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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