Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Can a Sandwich Be Slandered?

That's the question posed by a headline in Tuesday's business section of the NY Times.

The article explains that Quiznos, a sandwich chain, sponsored a contest in which the public was invited to submit homemade commercials that took aim at sandwich rival Subway. According to the NYT:
The contest rules made it clear that the videos should depict Quiznos sandwiches as “superior” to Subway’s.

Subway promptly sued Quiznos and iFilm, the Web site owned by Viacom that ran the contest, saying that many of the homemade videos made false claims and depicted its brand in a derogatory way.

Subway is also objecting to ads that Quiznos itself created, showing people on the street choosing Quiznos over Subway.

. . . the Subway lawsuit, which seeks financial and punitive damages, seems to open a Pandora’s box.

“Let’s just hope that as collateral damage it doesn’t kill the entire genre of competitive advertising,” said Brad Brinegar, chief executive of McKinney, an ad agency in Durham, N.C., that does not work with Subway or Quiznos.

. . . Among the videos that can still be seen on YouTube, one shows a wife arriving home with a Quiznos sandwich for her husband and a Subway sandwich for her dog. In another, a young man runs through town to find a sandwich, passing by seven Subway stores before he reaches a Quiznos and goes in. In a third, two men punt sandwiches across a parking lot; the Subway one soars high but the Quiznos one is so heavy that the man falls over when he kicks it.
I hope the courts require Subway to meet an appropriately high legal standard to win its case.

Frankly, I don't understand anyone who's a fan of either Quiznos or Subway sandwiches. Maybe if you're in a hurry and one of 'em is located right near your office, but I can't imagine buying a sandwich from either Quiznos or Subway that would be half as enjoyable as the pastrami sandwich I had at Ben's Kosher Deli last week.

No comments: