brands with balls
Posted by Sara Zucker on January 8, 2010 05:00 PM
President Barack Obama has been bombarded with brands wanting to profit from his popularity. Artist Shepard Fairey, for instance, caused an uproar for exploiting Obama's image. Now, Weatherproof is being reprimanded for suggesting the brand has the President's endorsement.
Weatherproof posted the ad of Obama donning what appears to be one of the brand's coats on a billboard in busy Times Square. If anything, Weatherproof certainly knows how to garner attention.
Last year, Weatherproof's president, Freddie Stollmack, purchased an Associated Press photo of the President for endorsements. That part of this genius advertising mess is clear.
In fact, Paul Colford, a spokesman for the AP, confirms that Weatherproof bought the appropriate license fee for the billboard image, “but the agreement is that it requires the licensing party, in this case the Weatherproof Garment Company, to obtain the necessary clearances — that is their obligation.” From there it gets ugly.
Stollmack jumped at the chance to send out a press release praising President Obama's clothing choice without approval from the White House.
Legally, it remains unclear if Weatherproof was required to obtain consent, but mainstream publications aren't messing with the image of America's head honcho. Women's Wear Daily, the New York Post, and the New York Times all refused to run the controversial advertisement. Kevin M. Greenberg, a partner at Philadelphia's Flaster/Greenberg law firm, thinks that a Barack Obama vs. Weatherproof lawsuit would cause a media explosion, leading to a wider audience and even greater exposure for the clothing company.
This isn't the first time that Weatherproof has pushed the envelope. Stollmack attempted to warm Manhattan's infamous Naked Cowboy in his company's coat in 2008.