I came across an interesting article this week looking at the Quiznos vs. Subway TV Ad Challenge back in the fall of 2006. The challenge aske Quiznos fans to submit videos that drew a comparison between Quiznos and Subway with Quiznos being superior. The winner received $10,000, and the video was shown on VH1 and on a giant screen in Times Square on New Year’s Eve in 2006.
Easy enough. Subway has decided to sue Quiznos because it contends that the consumer video contained “literally false statements” and depicted Subway in a “disparaging manner.” The issue though is that Quiznos did not make the videos, but can it be held liable for content its fans made at the company’s request. This is an important case because it will set a precedent that could impact on user generated campaigns moving forward.
I believe this will add yet another layer of consideration when developing online campaigns. This could potentially have impact beyond contests that attack or poke fun of competitors because “false claims” could have a very broad interpretation.