Not too long ago, Woody Allen won a $5 million lawsuit against American Apparel because they used his image on an ad. It wasn’t the ad that is above. I Photoshopped that this morning. It was this one:
1.) I don’t really see what this ad would have done for American Apparel. It’s a far departure from their other more noticeable ads. 2.) Anyone who’s been in advertising for any period of time would know that this usage of Allen’s image is far from fair use.
My theory is that American Apparel baited Allen into suing them and then milked all of the free press. Just Google “Woody Allen American Apparel” and you will see hundreds of links in all sorts of publications around the world. Association with American Apparel would not be good for his image considering their usual ads come off just shy of porn. Suing them would be a pretty clear cut case as well. You can’t use images of movies in your advertisements without permission.
For five million dollars, I’d say the natural press they got made this a better investment than a TV ad campaign. American Apparel has never shied away from controversy and challenging copyright makes them seem cool to a younger generation. Considering he got $5 million just because a clothing shop put an image of him with a beard on a billboard, he came out pretty well too.