Beer ads irritate Nike

Legal action threatened over John Smith 'Just 'ave it' campaign

Oct 23, 2002 - Nike is threatening legal action against brewer Scottish Courage over a John Smith's campaign in Great Britain using the slogan: "Just 'ave it."


The brewery has countered by accusing Nike executives of lacking a sense of humor. "They've also done a pretty god job of insulting a huge chunk of their customers. Do they think they're all budding David Beckhams?" said Scottish Courage's director, John Botia.

Nike pays millions of pounds each year to endorse football (soccer) stars such as as Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry and Ronaldo, and complains that the John Smith advertisements with an "overweight and apparently unskilled" footballer is harming its image.

In the ads featuring Peter Kay, the star of a cult sitcom in England, he is an enthusiastic but hopeless football player. Among other things, he chooses a can of John Smith's at halftime rather than traditional oranges.

As well as claiming that "Just 'ave it" rips off Nike's famous "Just do it" line, the company says that John Smith's new horseshoe logo resembles the Nike "swoosh".

Nike's lawyers, Dickinson Dees, have written to Scottish Courage claiming the 10m campaign is "detrimental to Nike's trademarks, which are registered in the main for sports clothing, tarnishing them and making them less attractive and less distinctive."

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