BlackBerry has lodged a successful Advertising Standards Authority of SA (ASA) complaint against Liqui-Fruit’s limited edition Blackberry juice marketing campaign, which BlackBerry argued used its trademarks and branding without permission.
The BP Express advertisements each show a BlackBerry smartphone and three Liqui-Fruit BlackBerry juices. Each of the advertisements state “Stand a chance to win 1 of 30 BlackBerry 9220’s”.
Clear Copy, on behalf of BlackBerry, argued that Liqui-Fruit does not have permission to use BlackBerry’s trademarks and branding.
“Liqui-Fruit’s use of the BlackBerry branding creates the impression that BlackBerry is in some way involved with the competition,” the complaint stated.
“In the event that there is some problem with the competition, consumers will be misled into erroneously blaming BlackBerry for the problem.”
It was further argued that the BlackBerry branding has been used carelessly, and without conforming to the BlackBerry’s brand guidelines.
“An example of this is the spelling of ‘BlackBerry’, which varies between ‘BlackBerry’ (correct) and ‘Blackberry’ (incorrect),” RIM argued.
Bester Burke Slingers responsed on behalf of Liqui-Fruit (The Ceres Beverage Company), arguing that the advertisements that appeared at the BP Express shops, which contain BP branding, were produced by BP.
“Only the Facebook advertisements were produced by Liqui-Fruit,” the company said.
Liqui-Fruit argued that there is no similarity whatsoever in terms of the look and feel between BlackBerry and the Liqui-Fruit advertisements.
Liqui-Fruit also argued that it is both legal and acceptable to use the BlackBerry trademark in the context of offering it as a prize without the permission of the trademark owner.
It was further stated that the incorrect spelling of the word “BlackBerry” as “Blackberry” was an honest mistake.
The BlackBerry ruling
The ASA was not convinced, ruling that Liqui-Fruit’s use of ‘BlackBerry’ exploits BlackBerry’s advertising goodwill in the “BlackBerry” trade mark, and by imitating it.
The ASA ordered Liqui-Fruit to withdraw its BlackBerry advertisements, and prohibited the company from using it again in future.