Macy’s filed a lawsuit against the firm that owns the giant billboard next to its Manhattan store, battling to block Amazon from taking over the billboard that displayed Macy’s name for nearly 60 years. In the lawsuit that was filed last week in New York State Court in Manhattan, the retailer stated that there was a restrictive agreement set in place since 1963 that barred the advertisement space being used by any of Macy’s rivals.
However, Macy’s said that as it tried to negotiate the renewal of the lease this year, the owner of the billboard, the Kaufman Organization, told them they were holding discussions with “a prominent online retailer” and there was “little doubt” that was Amazon, according to the lawsuit.
According to New York Times, Amazon and the Kaufman Organization did not immediately respond to requests for comments. Macy’s asked in the lawsuit for the judge to a directive that would disable Kaufman from renting the billboard space to Amazon or any of their rivals.
“[J]ust imagine Pepsi on a Coca-Cola building or Mercedes advertising on the building of a BMW dealership,” Benjamin Brotzman, a head in Macy’s retail group, stated in the court filings. “Akin to a conquering enemy, it would be as if a competitor hung its ‘flag’ on top of Macy’s flagship department store and announced victory.”
“The damages to Macy’s customer goodwill, image, reputation and brand, should a ‘prominent online retailer’ (especially, Amazon) advertise on the billboard are impossible to calculate,” the company stated in the lawsuit. The lawsuit noted that the billboard is of prominence due to its visibility during the annual Thanksgiving Day parade, which is nationally broadcasted.