A huge billboard for Weatherproof Sportswear will be removed from New York City’s Times Square. The reason? The guy wearing their jacket never consented.
That would be President Barack Obama.
When it went up last week, the company was blasted for appropriating Obama’s likeness; now they say the ad will be taken down “in an expeditious manner.”
White House spokesperson Ben LaBolt, who declined to comment specifically about Weatherproof’s decision to take the billboard down, told People of the ad:
“The White House has a longstanding policy disapproving of the use of the President of the United States name and likeness for advertising purposes.”
A LEADER IN STYLE: So much so that people shoplift it!
While the Obamas were recently voted Americans' most desired celebrity neighbors and are popular style icons, some say this violates Barack's right to privacy.
So, what was the company thinking when it put up the ad? Weatherproof President Freddie Stollmack, who called the campaign “serendipitous,” explained:
“We saw a picture of President Obama visiting the Great Wall of China and we said, ‘Boy that looks like our coat.’” It was a simple idea, but hard to defend.
Intellectual property lawyer Barbara Solomon said it's "not an issue of expression but pure commercial appropriation. This is an advertisement, nothing but.”
The Obamas are apparently frequent targets of such image-stealing. Last week PETA caused a stir with an anti-fur ad that featured Michelle Obama pictures.