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CAMPAIGN for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) threatened to sue consumer goods transnational Unilever yesterday for “cynically” using its iconic peace symbol to flog deodorant.
The Morning Star can reveal CND has been forced to resort to legal action after Unilever refused to make a donation for using its symbol to brand and advertise its Lynx products.
A copyright row has been brewing since the new “Lynx Peace” range, including body spray, shower gel and shampoo, was launched last month.
The bottles all feature the distinctive peace logo that was created for CND when it was established in 1957.
The logo was not copyrighted in order for it to be spread across the world but CND has previously received donations from dozens of companies who used it for commercial gain.
A Unilever spokeswoman said it was refusing to cough up following CND’s polite request because “the icon is recognised and used as a universal symbol of peace.”
But the company has identified the symbol as CND’s on the official Lynx Effect Twitter account.
A message promoting a photo stunt for the campaign to 60,000 followers reads: “One giant, man-made CND symbol in Trafalgar Square, London for #LynxPeace”
CND general secretary Kate Hudson said: “By describing it as the ‘CND symbol’ Lynx is no longer offering a generic nod to peace, but is directly trading off our 56-year legacy.
“The millions who have stood with CND symbols in Trafalgar Square over the last half-century will find it galling to see such a flagrant co-opting of decades of activism against nuclear weapons and war.”
The compensation bid comes after the peace group forced a high-street chain that used its symbol to make a donation in a similar stand-off last year.
The company initially refused but relented when the campaign’s lawyers confronted it with a strong case, the Star understands.
Unilever is marketing the products with a “make love, not war” campaign in conjunction with Peace One Day, which organises support for the UN’s Peace Day on September 21.
The Lynx promotional website states: “For decades Lynx has brought guys and girls together, but Lynx Peace is taking it one step further by using the power of attraction to bring the world together in the name of love, not war.”
Visitors are also asked to Tweet their own peace pledge.
Ms Hudson called it “refreshing” to see big business taking an interest in peace issues and investing £9 million in its advertising campaign for Britain that will expose millions to CND’s symbol and its meaning.
But she added: “We draw the line when a corporation cynically uses not only our symbol but CND’s name and history for profit.
“Let’s not mince our words here: Lynx Peace is a marketing campaign to sell deodorant.”
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