Soccer legend Pele sues Samsung for $30 million over ‘lookalike’ ad


Brazilian soccer legend Pele is suing Samsung. He filed a $30 million lawsuit in Chicago after the electronics giant published a newspaper ad that clearly features a Pele “lookalike.”

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, 75, still earns most of his money from endorsement deals.

His lawsuit claims Samsung acted in a “willful and outrageous” manner by promoting a new widescreen TV with a Pele “lookalike.”

The company was in talks with Pele since 2013 but pulled out of those negotiations at the last minute, according to the court document which was filed this month.

Without his permission Samsung used a lookalike to publish a full-page ad in The New York Times in October.

The ad shows the face of “a smiling man who very closely resembles Pele” next to a television displaying a soccer player making a “scissors-kick, [which was] perfected and famously used by Pele,” according to the filing.

The $30 million lawsuit claims that the ad enriches Samsung while infringing on Pele’s publicity rights and diluting his brand value.

Pele is being represented by Fred Sperling, the same lawyer who won a similar case for Michael Jordan.

Jordan was awarded $8.9 million in a lawsuit last summer after a grocery store used his image without permission.

Jordan originally asked for $10 million in damages.

While he hasn’t played professional soccer in decades, Pele still has active endorsements, especially in his home country of Brazil where he is considered a national hero.

Here’s the Samsung ad in question.

Samsung ad and Pele lawsuit

Written by Peter Mondrose

Peter Mondrose

Peter Mondrose is the Editor-In-Chief at BusinessPundit. He received his degree in Economics in 1998 and a second degree in Journalism in 2004. He has served as a financial adviser, market trader, and freelance journalist for the last 11 years. When he's not investigating market conditions and reporting on workplace news, he can be found traveling with his wife, dog, and laptop. He can be reached at