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Monday, July 22, 2024 | Back issues
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‘Dirty Dancing’ Ad Spoof Kicked to California

MANHATTAN (CN) - A federal judge in Los Angeles will preside over TD Ameritrade's efforts to protect its advertisement that riffs on an iconic line from "Dirty Dancing."

Before TD Ameritrade wrapped up its ad campaign in April, it drew objection from Lions Gate Entertainment for bastardizing "one of the most (if not the most) famous lines of 'Dirty Dancing.'"

Beneath an image of figure hoisting an enormous piggy bank above his head, the ad reads, "Nobody puts your old 401(k) in the corner."

In the 1987 film, Patrick Swayze's character Johnny pulls his dance partner onto the stage after saying, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."

Baby is Jennifer Gray's character. The cartoon evokes how Johnny and Baby dance to "Time of My Life" in that scene.

With Lionsgate trying to squeeze TD Ameritrade for a "seven-figure" license fee, the Canadian bank's U.S. subsidiary and its ad company Havas Worldwide New York filed a lawsuit over the summer in the Southern District of New York.

They said Lionsgate has "no evidence that anyone was confused" by its ad campaign.

Indeed when Lionsgate applied to protect the line in question on Sept. 6, 2014, TD Ameritrade says the production company specified "an intent to use the mark on a range of collateral goods related to the motion picture, such as books and other paper-based items, clothing, and household items."

Lionsgate made no mention of a plan "to use the mark on or in connection with financial services, or services of any kind," the complaint states.

Lionsgate's applications reveal that the phrase is already being used for "blank journals, postcards, posters, stickers, shirts and tops, infantware, beverageware and plastic water bottles," TD Ameritrade and Havas note.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest agreed to transfer the case to the Central District of California.

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