Pelé drags Samsung to court demanding $30 million over ‘lookalike’ ad

Pelé is dragging Samsung into the pitch. But this time the legendary football icon is not playing football with Samsung, but playing out a heavy law suit. Football legend Pelé is dragging Samsung to court demanding a deafening amount of $30 million. The 75-year-old Brazilian athlete strongly asserts that the company made judicious use of a lookalike of him via means of a full-page ad which Samsung had used for its UHD TVs last year.

Can Pelé dribble past Samsung to score this goal?

Can Pelé dribble past Samsung to score this goal?

Going by reports from Reuters, earlier this month, Pelé has filed a lawsuit in Chicago, making note of his grievances that Samsung had used an ad which carried a large portrait photograph of a model bearing very typical resemblance with Pelé. Closely placed alongside the “alleged” Pelé was an image of a Samsung TV which showed him in the middle of a “modified bicycle or scissors-kick, perfected and famously used by Pelé.” in the words of the lawsuit filed.


The ad which enjoyed its appearance in The New York Times, makes no reference to Pelé at all by name at least. Going further into details of the complaint filed, it was mentioned that some time ago in 2013, Samsung had made attempts to employ Pelé’s image for marketing purposes, but rather surprisingly the South Korean electronics company pulled the plug to the arrangements backing out in the eleventh hour when proceedings were very close to conclusion; and as such “never obtained the right to use Pelé’s identity in any manner or in any format.”

Pelé’s lawyers’ jurisdictional cup if tea is that the ad possibly confuse consumers even taking for granted the value of the Pelé’s endorsements. Pelé racked a whooping $25 million from endorsements when Brazil hosted the World Cup in 2014 according to reports from Bloomberg. Among these endorsements were endorsements with Subway, Santander, and Volkswagen. “The goal is to obtain fair compensation for the authorized use of Pelé’s identity and to prevent future unauthorized uses,” attorney Frederick Sperling informed Reuters. On the CV of Sperling is the feat he previously conquered when he engineered Michael Jordan’s $8.9 million win in a case tagging Jordan against a supermarket chain which had made use of the basketball king’s image as well as name in a promotion without actually getting Jordan’s consent.

Looking at this really, $30m which is about £21m could be more than what you could buy get Guus Hiddink’s Mikel for. If Pelé scores this one, then this should be his Puskas goal (best goal) scored.

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