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Elvis Presley Ad Campaign for Guns Triggers Lawsuit

The Elvis Presley estate is now suing the maker of Beretta firearms for falsely suggesting that the King has endorsed its latest model.

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley was an avid gun aficionado and once owned a Beretta firearm.

But according to the Presley estate, that still doesn't give the Italian company that manufactures Beretta guns the right to use Presley's image in an advertising campaign.

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On Thursday, a false advertising and publicity rights lawsuit was filed in Tennessee federal court against Fabbrica d'Armi Pietro Beretta S.p.A.

The complaint says that Beretta introduced a shotgun for sporting clays shooting and used advertising "intended to suggest that the gun's status ultimately would be equivalent to Elvis' legendary status as an entertainer."

The model 692 was introduced at popular gun trade shows including the 2014 SHOT in Las Vegas.

"As part of the Elvis Themed Advertising Campaign, Beretta advertised that Elvis was coming to these events," says the lawsuit. "At every venue, Beretta had Elvis impersonators to appear and/or perform and greet the gun enthusiasts attending such events. In some cases, they had the Elvis impersonators pose with the weapons."

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Then, there were posters.

According to the lawsuit, "As part of the Elvis Themed Advertising Campaign, Beretta created or had created advertising posters that feature an image of a performer appearing to be Elvis facing an audience wearing a jumpsuit in the style typically associated with Elvis with a shooting vest and ear protectors on so as to associate Beretta's products with Elvis."

The Elvis estate demands an injunction and further monetary damages. Here's the complaint.

Twitter: @eriqgardner