Rediffusion has issued a statement in which it claims that Disney Star has lifted a creative idea it shared with the media company for the Pro Kabaddi LEague without giving it true credit.
According to Rediffusion, the agency had shared 10 creative ideas with Disney Star in August to promote the tournament which kicks off on 2 December. However, Disney Star stated that they were parking the idea at that moment.
On 23 November, an ad film featuring actor Tiger Shroff was released ahead of the League kicking off which sparked the controversy.
Kalyani Srivastava, joint president, Rediffusion, said, "We are deeply concerned that our concept has been used without our knowledge or consent, and without any credit or compensation. We believe that this constitutes IP infringement and we have requested the client to immediately halt the airing of the commercial until this matter is resolved."
She added, "Star Sports specifically noted in their email dated 5 September 2023, that there were certain ideas that were already in progress at their end, but there was no mention of the Mahabharata idea. In fact, the comment by the Disney Star team that 'a mythological bend is interesting' clearly indicates that there was no previous work in progress or current discussion with the Disney Star's advertising partner. "
Carol Goyal, executive director and legal head, Rediffusion, said, "We were more than willing to amicably settle the issue, but Disney Star has been trying to dodge any constructive discussion to resolve matters. They have acknowledged in writing that Rediffusion presented the Mahabharata ideas for PKL but keep obfuscating the issue with non-specific claims thereafter on it being generic."
Rediffusion's statement added that the agency is calling for the immediate stoppage of the airing of the commercial and is considering taking legal action against Star Sports.
However, Star Sports denied all these claims and stated that Wunderman Thompson created the promo after receiving instructions from the former.
In a statement, Star Sports said, "Star Sports reached out to multiple ad (creative) agencies, to potentially assist with different facets of its overall integrated marketing plan for PKL. While the scope of WT was to create the campaign for PKL including TVC, the scope of Rediffusion was to come up with digital ideas to amplify the campaign on social media platforms."
The statement added that Rediffusion was approached by Star Sports for digital ideas on 22 August. Rediffusion replied with a concept note on 1 September and Star Sports provided its feedback on 5 September. According to Star Sports, on 28 August, the concept developed by Wunderman Thompson was finalised which included looks for the celebrities, potential music, and concept.
"Any claim by Rediffusion on infringement of their IP rights is baseless and without merit. Star Sports has documents for all the above and a claim by Rediffusion to the contrary is incorrect. The question of attributing any credit to Rediffusion does not arise, since Star Sports did not use their concept. Despite communicating the above to Rediffusion on multiple occasions, it has persisted in making frivolous and unsubstantiated allegations against Star Sports," added Star Sports' spokesperson.
(Updated at 1300 hours with Star Sports' response)
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