Nader to MasterCard: I win!

A judge denies the company's request to squash the presidential candidate's "priceless" parody ad.

By Damien Cave
September 13, 2000 11:00PM (UTC)
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A federal judge ruled Tuesday that presidential candidate Ralph Nader has the right to keep running a biting political ad that parodies what MasterCard calls its "famous and renowned 'priceless' advertising campaign."

"We're pleased with the court's ruling, and we believe it's the correct decision," said Theresa Amato, Nader's campaign manager. "It's clearly a parody, clearly free speech."


The ruling, handed down by U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels in New York, denied the credit card company's request for a temporary restraining order, essentially throwing out the $15 million lawsuit that MasterCard filed last month. The denial allows Nader to keep publishing the ads on his Web site. And that's just what he'll do, Amato says.

It also signifies a very public defeat for MasterCard. The credit card giant had claimed that Nader's ad stole from their own campaign -- which tempts us with such intangibles as "a day where all you have to do is breathe," followed by the word, "priceless." The campaign drives home our addiction to consumerism with the tag line, "There are some things money can't buy ... for everything else there's MasterCard." (MasterCard could not be reached for comment.)

Nader's ad puts a silly spin, reminiscent of the old "Saturday Night Live," on the concept. After MasterCard filed its suit, the Green Party candidate told the Associated Press: "[MasterCard] should lighten up. They're taking their name, 'Master' too seriously. This is America."


The courts have now agreed.

Damien Cave

Damien Cave is an associate editor at Rolling Stone and a contributing writer at Salon.

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