Celebrity Scent Scandal - Kidman gets payout from Telegraph
Nicole Kidman has secured a 'substantial'payout from the Telegraph over allegations she favoured a scent other than the one she had a multimillion pound deal to promote. As previously reported on Mediabeak, Kidman unleashed her lawyers on the Telegraph after its 'Spy' gossip column suggested she was more partial to Jo Malone's White Jasmine and Mint scent than the Chanel No.5 she was under contract to promote.
There have been numerous cases involving celebrity endorsement in general and cosmetic and beauty products in particular in recent years. These did not always end up in court or cause the damage that might have been expected from the circumstances. Take for example Kate Moss, dropped by numerous brands including Chanel following allegations of drug taking, she recovered both physically and reputationally, even securing further lucrative cosmetic deals. Similarly David Beckham suffered no adverse effects following allegations about extra marital affairs around the time of his move to Spain.
The types of cases there have been can be broken down into three types: First, those where there has been an element of ‘passing off’ under trademark law. As in the case of former Formula One star Eddie Irvine and Talksport, you can’t use an image without consent or compensation. Singer Jennifer Lopez was threatened with legal action as her perfume ‘Glow by J-Low ‘ was seen to be too similar to another brand ‘Glow’. Even heavy metal band Metallica tried suing Guerlain when it issued a perfume under the Metallica name, even though confusion between the products could hardly be an issue.
Second, cases where the direct actions of an individual have undermined the brand. Kate Moss lost deals on the back of the ‘cocaine Kate’ allegations and following the racism row that erupted after her performance on Big Brother earlier this year, Jade Goody saw her perfume ‘Shh!’ withdrawn from sale in some outlets.
Third, cases such as this where companies can argue that the image they have bought in does not comply with the binding terms of the ‘buying in’ contract. Sainsbury’s suffered an embarrassing episode when Catherine Zeta Jones, who was promoting its recipes at the time, was spotted shopping in Tesco. More recently Teri Hatcher is locked in litigation with Hydroderma. The company is reportedly suing her for $2.8m for allegedly supporting other lip plumping products. This was on the basis that she was said to be ‘a fan’ of competitor City Lips.
Read more of this analysis from Mediabeak on Mediaguardian.co.uk: The Price of Speculation