- A row over an ad showing a squashed pink toy rabbit having apparently been run over by a car is moving into the High Court following the issue of a writ by Duracell to protect its famous trademark.
The battery manufacturer is suing the Volkswagen Group United Kingdom and its agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, for damages over alleged trademark infringement in a national press ad for Audi.
BBH produced the ad showing the broken toy lying near the central white line on an empty road and a drum in the opposite carriageway. It carried the line "Audi TDI. Keeps on going".
Underneath it were the words "No other diesel looks like it or lasts like it", mirroring the Duracell line, "No other battery looks like it or lasts like it".
Meanwhile, the Advertising Standards Authority is investigating more than 80 complaints that the ad which has now been withdrawn was tasteless and trivialised the killing of wildlife.
Duracell, which is owned by Gillette, introduced the drumming bunny into the UK in the late 70s and it has since evolved into one of advertising's most familiar characters.
Duracell has the rights to the character across Europe while in the US it is used to promote Duracell's arch rival, Energizer.
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and its sister media shop, New PHD, which took over the Duracell account in January as part of a realignment of the £50 million European and US accounts within the BBDO network, are currently working on creative treatments for a possible pre-Christmas TV campaign. Whether or not the bunny will feature in it has yet to be decided.
Neither Duracell, VW nor BBH would comment on the impending legal action.