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ESPN article on licensing of iconic coaches, contrasting Vince Lombardi to Joe Paterno

December 20, 2011 No Comments »
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Here’s a great article about how famous, iconic figures are represented, citing the work Luminary Group has done for the family of Vince Lombardi.  Instead of elaborating or commenting here, I’ll just give you a link to the article so you can read for yourself:  http://espn.go.com/blog/sportsbusiness/post/_/id/158/paterno-legacy-likely-trails-coaching-icons


Benetton’s “unhate” campaign could be more than just a publicity stunt

December 7, 2011 No Comments »
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Benetton has recently issued an advertising campaign featuring images of President Obama digitally altered to appear as though he is kissing Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, and in another spot, Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Benetton's altered picture of President Obama kissing Chinese President Hu Jintao

Benetton euphemistically calls it “an invitation” to “combat the culture of hatred.”  (Dear Benetton: whose hatred, exactly?) I call it an advertisement.

While I don’t begrudge message-based advertising or calling attention to things like charitable fundraising or humanitarian efforts, I find campaigns like this to be little more than a transparent publicity stunt designed only to stir up controversy and get extra publicity for Benetton.  I suppose I am obliging them by writing about it, but perhaps raising the specter of liability for the advertisement offsets that transgression.

All of this reminds me of a post I wrote about PETA’s advertising antics:  http://rightofpublicity.com/peta-launches-new-ad-featuring-michelle-obama-without-first-ladys-permission

The White House issued the following statement in response to Benetton’s ad:  “The White House has a longstanding policy disapproving of the use of the president’s name and likeness for commercial purposes.”  Sounds like someone at the White House may have a functional awareness of the Right of Publicity.

Here’s a link to more details on the advertising campaign:  http://digitaljournal.com/article/314625

Benetton’s advertisement would make a good Right of Publicity exam question.

What do you think?

 

 


Chef Gordon Ramsay, singer Bette Midler, and Acura’s Season of Reason campaign

December 2, 2011 1 Comment »
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This isn’t strictly a Right of Publicity posting, but I can’t help commenting on Acura’s “Season of Reason” advertising campaign featuring chef Gordon Ramsay and singer Bette Midler.  YouTube clip of Gordon Ramsay in Acura Season of Reason ad

YouTube clip of Bette Midler in Acura Season of Reason ad

The spots are entertaining and I have no issue with the performances in the advertisements, but doesn’t the message of the ad contradict itself?  After chef Ramsay berates a kitchen team in his signature manner, or Bette Midler steals the show by caroling on a neighborhood doorstep, the narrator chimes in with “At a time when it’s easy to go overboard, Acura invites you to be smarter…” (…and buy an Acura either as a gift or for yourself).

If hiring chef Gordon Ramsay to cook your holiday dinner, or having Bette Midler go caroling with you denotes “going overboard,” how exactly is buying a $50,000 (0r more) luxury automobile for yourself, or as a gift, not “going overboard?”  Doesn’t it, in fact, demonstrate the very behavior being disclaimed?

(Anyone planning to give me an Acura as a gift, forget I said that–I won’t consider it going overboard.)

Congratulations to chef Gordon Ramsay and singer Bette Midler for landing their respective spots in Acura’s campaign.  I have no doubt that they each did quite well with those campaigns.  As an aside, I’m reminded of when my company was representing a top-name NBA superstar, who preferred to receive  product rather than money (he didn’t need the money).  That leads to some interesting negotiations.  As an agent, how do you receive a commission on, say, a luxury automobile?  Claim the muffler?

I suppose another takeaway from the Acura advertisements is that Bette Midler is now a bit more receptive to advertising, compared to her position as detailed in her famous 1988 Right of Publicity case against Ford Motor Company.  Here’s a link to that case:  http://rightofpublicity.com/pdf/cases/midler.pdf  Bette Midler v. Ford

Of course, things are very different these days.  The previous implications of the actor or actress not being able to find better work have all but evaporated.  The pay is pretty good, too.


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