MasterCard Sues Nader Over ‘Priceless’ Ad

ByABC News
August 16, 2000, 6:07 PM

N E W   Y O R K, Aug. 16 -- Ralph Nader, the presidential candidate who for years has decried corporate influence in political campaigns, has now been accused of appropriating a corporate ad campaign to sell his candidacy.

The Green Partys nominee for president has been sued for $35 million by MasterCard International Ltd., for creating a parody of its popular priceless television ad for his own campaign.

The priceless campaign is one of the most successful ad campaigns in history and we will do what we can to protect it, said Sharon Gamsin, a spokeswoman for the credit card company.

The Nader campaign declined to speak specifically about the lawsuit, filed today in federal court in Manhattan, but has scheduled a press conference in Washington for Thursday morning.

Laura Jones, the Nader campaigns deputy press secretary, said the campaign spot tapped into the sense of outrage that American people have about the state of the nations political system.

These two parties are no longer responsive to the American people but rather more interested in catering to their corporate sponsors, Jones said.

A Priceless Parody

In the MasterCard ad, families gather together in separate episodes at places including a beach or baseball game, assigning monetary values to various activities before coming up with an activity that is Priceless. The ads conclude: There are some things in life money cant buy. For everything else, theres MasterCard.

The Nader ad adopts a nearly identical format to focus attention on the role of political contributions in this years presidential campaign.

The ad opens with video clips of Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore, as an announcer intones: Grilled tenderloin for fund-raiser: $1,000 a plate. Campaign ads filled with half-truths: $10 million. Promises to special interest groups: over $10 billion.