Forever 21 Uses Musician’s Likeless Without Permission

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There’s trouble in the retail paradise as Forever 21 faces a lawsuit. 

American pop-star Ariana Grande filed a lawsuit against fashion retailer Forever 21 for launching an ad campaign that’s too similar to the concept of her ‘7 Rings’ music video as well as using a look-alike model. 

Grande’s legal team accused the clothing company of stealing the singer’s “name, likeness, and other intellectual property to promote their brand for free.” The lawsuit is filed against the company for publishing at least 30 unauthorized images and videos of the pop star to create a false perception of her endorsement. 

Failed partnership 

Forever 21 offered Grande and endorser position in the past however, Grande’s team declined the offer because the retail brand was said to be unwilling to pay the fair market value for Ms. Grande’s stature. 

This launch from Forever 21 is said to be an unauthorized marketing campaign intended to convince consumers that the singer is an endorser of their products. Adding fuel to the fire, Grande’s legal team accused the clothing company of hiring a model that looks a lot like the pop star singer. 

This marketing strategy from Forever 21 was running through its website and social media from January to February 2019. Additionally, The dates of the campaign were very close to the time with Grande’s newly released album. 

As stated in a CNN report, the company did not comment regarding the lawsuit due to their policy but they did dispute the accusation filed by Grande’s legal team. They claimed that they’ve worked with the singer’s licensing company for the past two years and they are hoping for a mutually agreeable solution. 

Preparing to launch a bankruptcy 

It looks like Forever 21 has a lot on its plate at the moment as this lawsuit continues and their plans to file for bankruptcy are underway. r.

Grande’s legal team is asking the retail company to pay $10 million in damages for copyright infringement, a violation of rights of publicity, and false endorsement. 

What does it mean for advertisers?

Brands are partnering up with influencers and celebrities to improve their brand engagement. This marketing strategy is not uncommon but still, proper legal actions need to be taken and both parties must agree to what’s written in the contract. 

The use of influences as a stage to promote brands will continue to adapt to the changing digital climates, and it’s our job as marketers to make change and revision strategies.

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