Two Coffees, Two Handsome Men & One Huge Lawsuit

Photo: Steve Granitz/Getty Images.
Update: Israel's Espresso Club has provided Refinery29 with a statement from its lawyer on the ongoing legal battle. "Espresso Club believes that Nespresso's claim is an attempt by a monopoly to minimize the competition in the Israeli Market," Zohar Lande of Barnea & Co., Espresso Club's legal representation, said in a statement provided to Refinery29. "Accordingly, we are confident that the Israeli Court will reject Nespresso's claim." Lande added that Espresso Club's parodying use of a celebrity look-alike is "a common practice" in the world of advertising.

This story was originally published on January 28.

We can all appreciate a strong cup of coffee and a handsome leading man. But what happens when there are dueling heartthrob baristas?

Two years ago, Nestlé, the parent company of Nespresso, filed a lawsuit against Israeli company Espresso Club. Now, Nestlé is appealing the decision.

The suit was first filed in Tel Aviv Magistrate court, Haaretz reports, and Nestlé lost its case. But last week, Nestlé appealed the court's decision, citing "misleading" advertising.

The "misleading" situation in question? An actor in an Espresso Club commercial bears a striking resemblance to actor George Clooney, who just happens to be a spokesperson for Nespresso (and sits on the company's board of directors).

In its defense, Espresso Club has stated that its ad is a parody of the Nespresso commercials. The Espresso Club's ads feature a disclaimer that the actor is not, in fact, Clooney. But the resemblance is pretty striking.

"This is a flagship case for Nestlé, and so they will fight us to the end," Espresso Club CEO Oren Tal told The Times of Israel. "I think the discussion on using doubles will reach all the way to the High Court, but their claims don't make sense, so that’s why I think we'll win. There is a whole genre in advertising of ads that relate to and make fun of their competitors."

Check out one of Nespresso's ads, featuring Clooney himself, below.

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