It Pays to Have Your Ducks in a Row

It Pays to Have Your Ducks in a Row

If you are going to hire a celebrity to endorse your product, it pays to have all your ducks in a row to ensure a successful relationship between the product, celeb and the public at large.

In 2009, Gate 5 and Beyonce entered into an agreement that Beyonce would involve development of a motion-sensing dance video game based on her moves that was to be called Starpower: Beyoncé. 

Beyonce alleged that they company, Gate 5, failed to secure the needed financing for the game, whereas Gate 5 claimed that she intentionally sabotaged the deal by demanding additional compensation before moving forward.  Their disagreement ended up in the courts in a $100 million lawsuit before eventually being settled in a private agreement between the two parties in 2013.

For one thing, the bitterness between the two entities could have been avoided (as well as a long, drawn out court case) if they had simply sat down and discussed the terms of the agreement and been willing to communicate their concerns and then iron them out.  While this is not always possible, it is certainly the preferred method.

Secondly, ensuring that the contract is perfectly clear on what is expected on both sides is an absolute necessity.  While it’s a fact that Gate 5 was to secure financing for the deal, what gets a little unclear is whether or not Beyonce got greedy and sabotaged potential financing or if Gate 5 was simply not able to secure the investors for the deal. In either case, this was a point that should have been explicitly stated in the contract as to what was required and expected from both Beyonce and Gate 5. 

Also in 2012, was sued by his own clothing line.  Both parties could not agree on when exactly it was that his contract expired.  I.Am. Clothing sued the singer for $2 million when he apparently abandoned his creative, marketing and promotion responsibilities.  According to his contract had expired.  According to the brand, he was obligated until 2016.  A recent google search for the brand showed that this website was nowhere to be found.

Clearly this also a case in which the terms of the contract and expectations from both parties might have been ambiguous and demonstrate the need for a clearly delineated contract that defines exactly the contractual obligations of all parties involved. 

Both of these cases also demonstrate a need for the company wishing to use a celebrity to endorse their product to be as professional as possible and have all of its ducks in a row before embarking on a relationship with the future brand spokesperson.  Of course there are going to be attorneys on both side to ensure that both are getting what they bargained for, but professionalism is called for as a requisite. 

Obscure expectations aren’t going to cut it when it comes to ensuring that the celebrity delivers the longed for result.  This needs to be hammered out before the contract goes to either side’s attorney.  To do otherwise is simply a waste of time and money and may even antagonize your prospective spokesperson.  After all, if they are in demand in enough to the face for your brand, they probably don’t have time for unskillful negotiations.

While we always recommend that attorneys be consulted in conjunction with contracting celebrities for endorsing products, we can help you navigate the process and avoid costly mistakes.  For help in securing the right celebrity for your next marketing campaign, you can call us at 1(888)359-4521 or visit to find out more.

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