INDIANAPOLIS – Rep. Braun appears to have deleted a campaign ad that was a carbon copy of a previous ad from Chevron, causing speculation that he may have been forced to remove it under threat of legal action after infringing on the company’s intellectual property.
On Monday, Rep. Braun’s campaign pulled its campaign ad known as “Doers” off the airwaves. As Adam Wren wrote in Importantville, and WRTV reported yesterday, the campaign also tried to hide every mention it had run the ad after fielding press inquiries, wiping it from the campaign’s social media accounts, campaign website, and Youtube page.
The timing is notable, as it came just days after Chevron began promoting its own latest “Doers” ad, a national advertising campaign the energy company has been running since 2015. The Braun campaign’s own “Doers” ad, which dates to mid-August, has been called out not only for its blatant falsehoods about his business practices, but also for its extreme resemblance to Chevron’s ads. At points, Rep. Braun’s ad appears to be a frame-by-frame replica of Chevron’s.
It’s highly unusual for a major statewide campaign to completely remove an expensive TV ad produced on location like Rep. Braun’s “Doers” ad. Even Rep. Braun’s controversial immigration ad, where he was criticized by the widow of a slain Hoosier Uber driver for using her deceased husband in it, remains on Youtube. His campaign’s refusal to explain why they tried to completely remove mentions of the ad will only drive speculation that Chevron sent the campaign a cease-and-desist letter and threatened them with legal action for stealing intellectual property.
“Rep. Braun will say or do anything to help himself – even if it means trying to steal a company’s nationally-recognized intellectual property. The only logical explanation for trying to make this single ad vanish would be that Chevron threatened to sue him if he didn’t take it down,” said Michael Feldman, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Rep. Braun doesn’t care who he harms in his quest for personal gain, and while today it may be Chevron, tomorrow it’ll be you.”