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Cadbury advertisement, “Move over Naomi, there’s a new diva in town,” potential violation of Naomi Campbell’s Right of Publicity?

June 10, 2011 No Comments »
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Cadbury is finding itself in a legal and PR mess after use of the line “Move over Naomi, there’s a new diva in town” in advertisements for Cadbury’s Bliss chocolate bar.  Supermodel Naomi Campbell has stated that she will look at “every option available” including the possibility of filing a lawsuit, the Independent UK reports.

This situation is interesting because it does not use an image of Naomi Cambell, or even her full name.  Can use of just a first name trigger a Right of Publicity violation?  It certainly can, if the association to Naomi Campbell is clear.  I use the phrase “unequivocally identifiable” in my Right of Publicity classes, and this situation brings that phrase to task.  Is a casual observer of the Cadbury advertisement going to think of Naomi Cambpell, even without further use of her image or full name?  You be the judge.  I invite you to post your thoughts.

The context of the advertisement is part of the analysis.  One can and must look at the supporting imagery, overtones of the ad, recent news, things the person in question might be known for, and similar elements that advertisers are very adept at incorporating into their creative.  Oftentimes, these added elements are part of the timeliness, or punchline, or effectiveness of the advertisement.  An observer of the advertisement is expected to arrive at the advertisement with these associations already in place.

Here’s an image of the Cadbury advertisement:


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