MasterCard International Inc. is charging Ralph Nader's presidential campaign committee with misappropriating the card company's "priceless" ad campaign in a TV commercial.
The Nader ad, "Priceless Truth," draws on the highly successful MasterCard series to lambaste the two major candidates on campaign finance. A voice-over in the 30-second spot says:
"Grilled tenderloin for fund-raiser: $1,000 a plate. Campaign ads filled with half-truths: $10 million. Promises to special interest groups: over $10 billion. Finding out the truth: priceless."
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, MasterCard claims the ad misappropriates its copyrights and falsely represents MasterCard as endorsing Mr. Nader.
The lawsuit asks for a court order to ban the Nader campaign from running the ad and claims at least $5 million in damages.
Mr. Nader responded to the charges Thursday by saying, "Let me assure MasterCard's executives that the last thing I want consumers to believe is that my campaign is in the business of selling credit cards."
Larry Flanagan, MasterCard's senior vice president in charge of North American marketing, said "the success of the 'priceless' campaign demands that we protect it."