The film tells the story of an advertising executive suffering a mid-life crisis when he meets a man who appears to be Jesus. In the course of the film, Jesus drinks a can of Coke, and the ad man exclaims: "God, what a great endorsement!"
A Coca-Cola spokesman said "we don't think it's appropriate to use the subject of this film to create publicity for our brands. We advised the producer of this in writing, and are very disappointed that our request was not respected."
Coca-Cola insist that permission to use its trademark had not been granted and the scenes with their product should be cut.
Okay, I have two points:
1. How is this a trademark infringement? There's no loss of trade or passing off here. Coca-Cola just don't like the association for fear of over-sensitive religious groups thinking it's an endorsement and boycotting their product. Coca-Cola have bigger and more expensive lawyers than the film-makers, so they get their way.
2. What hypocrites. Coca-Cola had no qualms about the wholesale ripping off of Joel Veitch's Dancing Ninja Kittens video for a television commercial, having to settle out-of-court to avoid an inevitable legal whooping.
I've said it before, but Coca-Cola are becoming a yesterday brand. Their marketing machine could have done a quid-pro-quo deal to promote the film by virally spreading the "offending" clip which could only have enhanced the coolness of their brand, while simply (and truthfully) saying that they were not involved in the creation of the film. Their big-corporation bullying legal tactics may please one group, but they're mightily pissing off another. The problem for Coca-Cola is that I reckon the latter are the people who actually drink their product...