Using a Well-Known Figure in Commercials

It usually takes companies detailed legal considerations and a big price to use public figures, such as celebrities, cartoon or movie characters, and their lookalike images, in commercials. This ABC News video shows us an interesting KFC commercial that is broadcasted in Hong Kong, China. In this ad, an Obama lookalike figure is “promoting” the newly introduced soft-roll fish filet burger in KFC. I am not a lawyer. I am curious to find out whether a federal or government agent holds his/her image rights as other public figures do --- I assume they might not have as much control as those who are private entities. Furthermore, how much control do public figures have over their image rights in a global market?

In addition to the legal issues, this video also indicates that it is very important for companies to adapt to a local “favor” or culture when doing business internationally. Many Chinese love seafood. It sounds natural to me that KFC is promoting a fish sandwich instead of deep-fried chicken. Next time when you dine in an American restaurant in an overseas location, please do not feel surprised when you find something “unusual” or “abnormal” on the menu. What are your opinions on adapting to a local culture in today’s global market?

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