Filipino pol's ad irks McCann, Coke

By Published on .

[Manila, Philippines] A popular Coca-Cola Co. commercial has inspired one of the candidates running for president in the Philippines' May 10 election, and Coke agency McCann-Erickson Worldwide isn't happy about it. The Interpublic Group of Cos.' agency placed an angry print ad in leading dailies in the Philippines accusing Panfilo Lacson of copyright infringement.

Mr. Lacson, a senator who is fourth in the five-person presidential race, is airing a campaign spot created in-house that is similar to one done by McCann for Coke, particularly in its use of a jingle and hand gesture that have passed into pop culture since the Coke ad broke in January. Coke's spot "has been very successful. Anyone who sees both ads immediately knows that it's a rip-off," said Fernando Villar, McCann-Erickson's VP-strategic planning in Manila. "His campaign managers did not ask us for permission, so we brought the situation to his attention and requested he pull the material, but his staff are trivializing our complaint." McCann's response, the newspaper ad headlined "An Invisible Crime," does not mention Mr. Lacson by name but explains intellectual-property rights in the context of political advertising. Coke's commercial is still running, too.

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