Ad Age: 'Absolut Hunt' Sues the Vodka Company Over Ad
The "hunk" in a fake Absolut ad shown in an HBO Sex in the City episode last summer is suing the real Absolut company for what he alleges is an improper adoption of the ad as a real marketing effort. The conflict brings up a troubling issue among viral marketers, where brands tacitly encourage or at least allow the spreading of interesting branded materials. If the brands take explicit responsibility for the content, they will often smother the titillating sense of subversion that makes the content attractive in the first place. But not doing so risks all sorts of havoc as well…
Jason Lewis posed nude for real-life ad agency Chiat/Day to produce the ad, which was placed in the HBO episode as a billboard in Times Square. Chiat/Day somehow managed to not be named party to the lawsuit, which may be a first for the oft-sued agency industry. Once the ad was broadcast, Absolut did pay homage to it, publishing on its website a recipe called Absolut Hunk.
If Lewis wins damages against Absolut, the decision may force legal departments across the country to become more aggressive in attempting to clamp down on parodies and satires, fearing future potential suits.