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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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