WILMINGTON, Del. (CN) – A Delaware company claims the J. Walter Thompson ad agency swiped its product placement concept and used it in an ad campaign for Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Denizen claims it met with Thompson’s corporate parent, WPP Group, from 2002 to 2006 to discuss “program integrated advertisements” that use characters and plots from TV shows in standalone ads. It claims Thompson used the concept to create ads for the NBC show “The Philanthropist” in July.
The ads, which Denizen says are unlikely to be coincidental, feature characters from the show acting out scenes while using Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing.
The segments book-ended the show’s commercial breaks, and seamlessly integrated the characters, blurring the line between product placement and traditional ads, Denizen says in its complaint in New Castle County Court..
Denizen seeks punitive damages for breach of contract, theft of trade secrets, conversion, unfair competition, and other charges. It is represented by Stamoulis & Weinblatt.