Having a celebrity photographed toting or wearing the merchandise from a luxury goods company would seem to be a marketer’s dream come true. However, luxury brands, especially those making high-end clothes, booze and bling are increasingly calling in the lawyers on celebs who feature their goods or trademarks without permission.
Louis Vuitton reached an agreement with Sony BMG after suing the record label for allowing its artists, including Da Brat, Britney Spears and former American Idol Ruben Studdard, to use the company’s signature Toile monogram and Multicolor trademarks without permission in music videos and CD inserts.
Rapper Da Brat bounced a beach ball with the Vuitton logos on it in a music video, Studdard used the trademark in his album’s artwork, and Spears drove a car with a dashboard tattooed with the colorful symbols.
And while some may consider this free publicity from pop stars that so many fans want to emulate – a following any brand’s bottom line would prosper from – Louis Vuitton begs to differ.
“We believe the terms of this agreement will provide strong protection to our brand worldwide,” Louis Vuitton said in a statement.
A company spokesperson even told the New York Daily News, “We don’t make dashboards,” referring to Spears’ music video.
A representative from Sony BMG declined to comment about the settlement.
Luxury designers like Louis Vuitton have a point when they sue over the misuse of their logos on items they don’t even manufacture. For example, beach balls and dashboards won’t be hitting the shelves of upscale boutiques anytime soon.
Luxury brands want to stay just that, luxurious.