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Samsung Sued by Soccer Great Pelé for $30 Million

March 30, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

Samsung is known for their high-end smartphones perhaps more than anything else at this point, but a company as large as Samsung will mean a lot of things to a lot of people. The South Korean giant makes washing machines, refrigerators, laptops, tablets, vacuums and of course Televisions. Samsung has been pushing their curved and Ultra HD range of TVs for a long time now, while also throwing in some smart TV features as well. Samsung is also known for their excellent marketing as well, often making firms like Apple look silly in commercials, while also getting their message across to people pretty well. Marketing is, ironically, what has gotten Samsung into trouble with the great soccer legend, Pelé.

Pelé was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento back in 1940, and was voted player of century back in 1999. Often regarded as one of the absolute greats of the game, Pelé is unsurprisingly a hot ticket for marketers and endorsements. Now, the legend is suing Samsung to the tube of $30 Million over a newspaper ad ran in the New York Times last Fall. The ad, which was designed to push their new range of Ultra HD TV sets depicts someone that looks remarkably similar to the soccer star, and feature the bicycle kick strike that he popularized throughout his career. In the suit, which was filed in a Federal Court in Chicago, Pelé alleges that Samsung were in talks for him to feature in the ad, but after these fell through, they instead used his likeness without his permission. This is an unfortunate move on Samsung’s part, and if talks really were happening, they probably fell through too late for a team to change the ad in its entirety. Even so, the likeness in the below ad is uncanny.

Suits like these more often than not come to damages, but whether or not Pelé will end up scoring $30 Million from the South Korean giant is unclear. Whether or not these talks took place will be key to the case, and whatever figure the two were bartering over could decide the amount of damages that are awarded, if any. At the end of the day, it sounds like Samsung’s marketing machine could have bitten off more than it can chew here, but the outcome will determine just who is to blame for this, if anyone.

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