Betty Inc., a Connecticut-based advertising agency, has filed a lawsuit alleging PepsiCo Inc. used its idea for a Super Bowl commercial without payment or attribution. Betty Inc. v. PepsiCo Inc., No. 16-4215 (S.D.N.Y., filed June 7, 2016). The complaint asserts that employees of Betty presented the idea for “All Kinds/Living Jukebox,” a tour through different musical genres and styles of dance representing the “Joy of Pepsi®,” in November 2015, then accepted PepsiCo’s request to refine the idea for a payment of $5,000.
Betty argues it refined the idea but told PepsiCo that the $5,000 did not transfer any rights of use or ownership of the advertising concept. PepsiCo did not seek to further produce the concept after the refinement, but “[t]he Super Bowl halftime commercial PepsiCo aired during the 2016 Super Bowl copies, is fundamentally based on, and is derivative of, the ‘All Kinds/Living Jukebox’ advertising storyline Betty presented to PepsiCo,” according to the complaint. Further, another advertising agency “has publicly taken credit for the Super Bowl halftime commercial.” For allegations of copyright infringement, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, unfair competition and conversion, Betty seeks compensatory and punitive damages, costs and attorney’s fees.