Pepsi Wins Copyright Suit Over Super Bowl Ad

Written November 26, 2019

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York on November 13, 2019, held that a Pepsi ad which ran during the 2016 Super Bowl and featured Funk singer Janelle Monae didn’t infringe on an advertising agency’s pitch. Betty, Inc. v. PepsiCo., Inc., S.D.N.Y., No. 16-cv-04215, 11/13/19.

In 2015, Betty presented eight concepts for the Super Bowl commercial to Pepsi. One of the concepts, titled “All Kinds/Living Jukebox,” opened outside a “giant Brooklyn(like) warehouse” with a man playing a rendition of “The Joy of Pepsi” on “acoustic guitar,” and would end with singers around a fire lit in a trash can.

The court rejected Betty’s argument that there was substantial similarity because the halftime commercial began in a brightly-lit 1950s-era diner with a red dance floor, moved to a brightly-lit white room with a red Pepsi logo on the floor, and ended in a room with a blue floor, blue walls, and blue lighting.

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