García, left, and Luna win Johnnie Walker battle. García, left, and Luna win Johnnie Walker battle.

Supreme Court sides with actors in dispute with whisky maker Diageo

Gael García and Diego Luna were featured in an advertising campaign by Johnnie Walker

Two Mexican actors have won a decade-long legal dispute with a whisky maker over image rights.

Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna were featured in caminando con gigantes (walking with giants) advertising campaign for its whisky brand Johnnie Walker in 2011.

Under federal copyright law, the use of a person’s image in an advertising campaign without his or her permission is illegal. The value of the compensation owed to the actors is yet to be determined.

García won a separate victory against Johnnie Walker owner Diageo in the Supreme Court in November. That ruling earned him 40% of the revenue from sales of Johnnie Walker during the period of the campaign. The actor’s lawyers said the commercial was played at least 22 times from September 3-October 6.

In early hearings, Diageo argued that the campaign was not intended as publicity for the company but a means of featuring “great personalities” to encourage Johnnie Walker consumers to strive to reach their goals. A press release issued by Diageo in 2011 said the campaign, introduced in 1999, was intended to “showcase a series of pioneering ideas which could help the world take a step forward.” It won several international awards.

The two actors starred together en Alfonso Cuarón’s 2001 film Y tu mamá también (And Your Mom Too). Since it was released, they have been known collectively by their fictional shared nickname in the movie: Los Charolastras (space cowboys).

With reports from El Financiero

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