Nespresso sues Israeli rival over Clooney imitator

January 26, 2016  

Nespresso has sued an Israeli competitor that aired a TV ad imitating and poking fun at Nespresso’s commercials. The rival firm, Espresso Club, made use of an actor who resembles Hollywood star George Clooney, who has been the lead man in Nespresso’s advertising for nine years. In the Espresso Club ad, the Clooney lookalike learns of the purported advantages of buying an espresso machine from Espresso Club.

Nespresso Israel announced that it was seeking $50,000 in damages from Espresso Club, and wants the commercial shelved. It explained that it is taking the legal step in order to prevent clients form being misled by the commercial and believing that it really featured Clooney.

According to NRG, Espresso Club stated in response that its commercial is a lighthearted poke at Nespresso’s ads and is intended for customers looking for “a less formal coffee experience” than Nespresso, which it said targets a more highbrow market. Presumably, therefore, it does not compete directly with Nespresso and does not target the same audience that is targeted by Nespresso’s ads.

The commercial begins with a large introductory caption that says the actor is not George Clooney, and a similar statement is visible in a small caption throughout most of the ad.

Nespresso is an operating unit of the Nestlé Group, based in Lausanne, Switzerland. Clooney has represented it in commercials since 2006. According to JTA, he also serves on the company’s board of directors.

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