Soccer Legend Sues Samsung over Ad

May 22, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. lawsuit / ˈlɔˌsut / (n.) – a complaint filed against another person in court
Example: The woman filed a lawsuit against her neighbor for allegedly damaging her car.

2. in question / ɪnˈkwɛs tʃən / (idiom) – referring to the object or person being talked about
Example: The investigators looking for the missing car said that the car in question was last seen in the neighboring town.

3. signature / ˈsɪg nə tʃər / (adj.) – describing something, such as an action or feature, that is closely associated with a person’s identity
Example: The moonwalk is Michael Jackson’s signature move.

4. deceptive / dɪˈsɛp tɪv / (adj.) – having an appearance that leads a person into believing something that is not true
Example: The way they presented the new product was deceptive.

5. apparel / əˈpær əl / (n.) – (used formally) clothes or garments, usually a particular kind
Example: The children’s apparel are found on the second floor.


Read the text below.
Samsung is facing a $30 million lawsuit filed by Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, who accused the Korean electronics company of using his identity without permission.

The 75-year-old retired soccer player filed the complaint in March in the federal court of Chicago after Samsung ran the advertisement in question in The New York Times. According to Pelé’s complaint, the ad featured a man who closely resembles him. The ad also included a picture of an unknown soccer player doing his signature kick. Pelé’s complaint further stated that the ad might confuse consumers and make them believe that he endorses Samsung products.

Pelé, who is widely considered as the greatest soccer player of all time, played for three Brazilian World Cup champion teams before his retirement in 1977. He has scored a total of 1,281 goals in his entire career. Currently, he relies mostly on endorsements as his source of income.

According to the soccer legend’s lawyer, Frederick Sperling, the lawsuit aims to obtain compensation for using Pelé’s identity without permission and to prevent future unauthorized use.

US advertising laws prohibit acts that are considered deceptive. Deceptive acts are those that are likely to mislead consumers or affect their behavior and decision-making towards a product.

Basketball legend Michael Jordan had filed similar complaints in the past against various establishments that allegedly used his identity without permission.

Jordan won an $8.9 million lawsuit against a local grocery for using his identity without permission in a Sports Illustrated ad. He also filed a complaint against a Chinese company for using the Chinese pronunciation of his name to sell their sports apparel, but the athlete lost the case.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What would you do if you were in Pelé’s situation? Why?
·         Do you think that Pelé will win the case? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What should advertising companies do to make their ads effective?
·         What can advertising companies do to earn the trust of consumers?

May 22, 2016