Celebrities live in a rarefied world we common folk can only gaze upon, with wonder or disgust depends upon whom you ask. Still, you can’t deny the power of celebrity to grab our attention. Just turn on the TV, radio or power up the Internet and there they are, driving content with their exploits. Celebrities are so magnetic they have the ability to persuade us to buy, among other things, clothes, cereal, coffee, tennis shoes, and yes, watches. I discussed how they partner with brands to drive sales here and also showed you how a celebrity’s watch can bring insane money at auction here.
How important is a celebrity’s name in selling product? Well, both Sandra Bullock and ToyWatch think it’s very important. In their recent ad campaign ToyWatch shows Bullock wearing one of their watches in The Blind Side, a movie released three years ago. Bullock played an adoptive mother, who, with her husband, guide a disadvantaged youth to success and a career as a football star. In the film, Bullock wears a white ToyWatch embedded with crystals, a plastic and ceramic number that retails for about $270.
ToyWatch took the opportunity to capitalize on Bullock’s stardom and Academy Award turn to dub the model the Sandra Bullock watch. Sandra Bullock didn’t take too kindly to the association particularly because she wasn’t asked permission or compensated for her supposed endorsement. In response, Bullock has sued the Italian company for infringement of publicity rights and expressed concerns that ToyWatch’s use of her image and name will devalue her commercial value.
I totally get that Bullock wants to get paid if she’s helping to sell watches. ToyWatch is definitely trying to profit from the assumed alliance. I really like Bullock, I do. But her suit seems rather frivolous and greedy and I’m disappointed in her. Why not just send an order to ToyWatch to cease and desist rather than alleging her fabulous name may have been compromised so that it’s not so valuable when she does want to endorse something. Might Ms. Bullock be thinking too highly of herself? Or does she have good cause?
All this fuss over a plastic (and ceramic) watch. That’s the power of celebrity.
Story tip courtesy of the Daily Mail.