A company which facilitates the use of dead celebrities in ads has
hit back at suggestions that it may be needlessly parting advertisers
from their money.
Dead Famous says its service is a response to a growing need from
agencies and clients who require guidance through an area that has not
yet been tested in the British courts. And its executives are seeking a
meeting with Philip Circus, the Newspaper Society’s advertising law
consultant, who recently cautioned agencies about paying out for
licences when they were not needed (Campaign, 8 May).
The company, part of the Talent Corporation, a casting and celebrity
services specialist, insists that, far from signing up the beneficiaries
of dead celebrities to represent them in advertising negotiations, it is
working on behalf of agencies trying to get the necessary permissions to
use such celebrities. ’Circus is missing the point,’ Ron Mowlam, the
Talent Corporation’s chief executive, said.
The Dead Famous service has been sparked partly by the recent Young &
Rubicam commercial for the Ford Puma, which appeared to show the late
Steve McQueen in his screen role in the film, Bullitt, driving the
Under current UK law, advertisers may use a celebrity’s image as long as
it is unaltered and permission from the image’s copyright holder has
been obtained. In the US, licences are required.
’Advances in digital technology mean there will be many more ads like
the one featuring McQueen,’ Mowlam commented.