April 12, 2010

An interesting court case is taking shape in Sweden. A dairy created a Turkish yogurt and commissioned a label that would make people feel that real Turks also ate the stuff. Going to Turkey to photograph someone was obviously prohibitively expensive so they went to the photo bank instead and bought a picture that would fit what they had in mind. Everything should have been OK.

Unfortunately, it turned out not OK. Namely, the gentleman illustrating the Turk is actually Greek. And when he found out that his face is illustrating a Turkish yogurt he decided to sue the dairy in question for 50 m SEK.

Which contract is enforceable, who missed what fine-print et cetera will come out in the next weeks and months. However, the larger issue to consider is cultural sensitivity. In an increasingly globalizing world, where the speed of communication is reaching the speed of light, companies and people are advised to seriously consider the implications of their actions when stepping outside of one’s home-culture comfort zone.