Ferrero's sweet victory
Who is the supreme master chocolatier - Lindt or Ferrero Rocher?
The Swiss giant Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority of SA that Ferrero Ithemba RSA is imitating its advertising campaign in a television commercial.
The advert shows a chef in a Ferrero shop whisking melted chocolate and illustrating the art of the chocolatier.
Lindt claimed Ferrero Rocher had copied its advertising, citing as examples the double-breasted white chef's jacket and hat that was branded in gold , the stainless steel mixing bowls , the portrayal of the melting of chocolate and the detail applied to the finished product.
It accused Ferrero of taking "advantage of the advertising goodwill" of its campaign, adding that the Ferrero ad duplicated the "essential, recognisable" theme and the "master chocolatier" branding that Lindt had spent "time, money and effort" in developing over the years.
Ferrero bristled at these allegations, arguing that it was patently absurd for Lindt to claim it had exclusive rights to the use of images of chocolatiers.
Ferrero Rocher said such images were "prolific" and the "production and creation of chocolate confectionery" was not an "original intellectual thought" owned by Lindt.
It added: "No single proprietor can claim exclusive rights to the use of the image of a chef."
The ASA found in favour of Ferrero Rocher.
"The idea that chocolatiers are shown working with melted chocolate is merely descriptive, and is not unique to the complainant per se," the authority ruled.
It said that many of the concepts that Lindt claimed were exclusive to its brand were defined too broadly to be identified as a "protectable advertising asset".
Lawyer Christine Strutt, for Lindt, said: "We feel that the Advertising Standards Authority based its decision largely on unrelated matters and failed to appreciate obvious similarities between the two advertisements."
A representative of Ferrero Ithemba RSA said the company was unable to comment.