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TBWA Chiat/Day Pulls Ski-Related Absolut Ad

January 09, 1998|Denise Gellene

TBWA Chiat/Day said it is yanking an ad for Absolut vodka that shows a bottle wrapped in a plaster cast above the legend "Absolut Vail." The ad, which has angered the operator of the Colorado resort, first appeared in magazines this week--only days after Michael Kennedy and Sonny Bono died in widely publicized skiing accidents elsewhere. "This advertisement was created . . . well in advance of the recent skiing tragedies," the ad agency said in a statement. "It was never the intent of the ad to comment in any way on these accidents." The agency said it has pulled the ad from 80% of the publications that had planned to run it. It was unable to yank it from the February issues of Aspen, Esquire, Premiere and Ski magazines. The agency's action hasn't satisfied Vail Resorts, which said it is preparing to sue TBWA Chiat/Day for trademark violation. "We think the ad is in terrible taste and a violation of our trademark," said Adam Aron, chairman and chief executive of the resort. Aron said he asked TBWA Chiat/Day to cancel the ad when he learned about it two weeks ago, but the agency refused. TBWA Chiat/Day, based in New York and Los Angeles, did not comment on the allegation. Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, which distributes Absolut, referred questions to Chiat/Day. The print ad shows a bottle wrapped in a cast that is covered with scribblings such as "I feel your pain" and "Ahhh, the agony of defeat."

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