War’s 1975 hit song “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” is all about hugging it out and making nice, but don’t tell that four of the band’s original members, who have filed a suit against Pepsi, alleging the beverage company didn’t get proper permission to use the tune in their currently running TV spots for Pepsi Max.
The band members, along with the daughter of a late member, filed the lawsuit earlier this week in L.A. They’re asking for $10 million from PepsiCo, saying that — regardless of whomever the soda company got permission to use the song from — it should have also negotiated with the artists.
The suit says none of the plaintiffs had known anything about the song’s use until they saw the commercial airing on TV.
“Pepsi is selling its billion-dollar brand based on their voices and they have to pay for it,” a lawyer for the musicians said.
Here’s Pepsi’s take on things:
Pepsi has a long history of partnering with iconic celebrities and musicians and we value our relationship with the music and entertainment industry.
The plaintiffs have asked for a jury trial and “confiscation of unlawful profits” in amount to be determined.
If you haven’t seen the spot yet (and don’t feel like watching the video below), it features a Pepsi truck driver making pals with a driver for Coca-Cola at a diner. They share a Pepsi Max and bond over the disputed War tune… until the Coke driver realizes he’s being filmed drinking a Pepsi and tosses the other guy out the window.