The ego has landed
Mystifying as it may be to some folk, we are living in a world where the cult of celebrity reigns supreme. Some view celebrity-status as a legitimate career path to riches, fame, influence, and public exposure. Social media platforms dominate youth culture and openly appear to promote such ‘misguided’ ambition. Who’d want to be a career adviser these days…think Monty Python and Mr Anchovy’s ambition to abandon accountancy and become a lion-tamer. As preposterous as finding fame, fortune and excitement through Made in Chelsea or The Apprentice? Just who are we to say. Times have changed. Does no one want a steady job any more…say…in insurance?
More to the point, such sceptics fully understand the lure of wealth, but the fame, who needs it? Seems like a burden. That’s because it is.
Brand hires brand
Celebrity, like it or not, whether footballer, chef, or comedian, creates a brand. The brand is the individual celebrity. They are responsible, for as long as they are in the public eye, for ensuring they don’t damage their reputation and brand or allow it to be trashed. Nowhere does this come into sharper focus than when a corporate entity hires a ‘brand’ individual to boost sales.
Oh boy, you should see the wordings of some consultancy contracts celebrities are asked to sign. Fair takes your breath away when you see how one-sided they often are in their attempt to tie the celebrity in knots over intellectual property rights to protect the corporate hiring entity from collateral reputational damage, loss of profits, ownership of innovation whilst the individual is under contract and the right to a quick, ‘grab-it-all’ exit should the celebrity damage their own brand or fail to sufficiently protect it.
Our celebrity friends, too often, charge head-long into such contracts only too glad to be hired and given yet more exposure. It’s all about them. What could possibly go wrong?
Intellectual property cover – a contract condition
Such is the fear of damage to the hired celebrity consultant brand, the contracts they are routinely asked to sign include a requirement the individual takes out Intellectual property insurance (IPI) to defend against infringement of their own IP rights or to, if needed, pursue an infringer. That’s some obligation, through contract, forced onto the hired celebrity ‘face’ through their consultancy company.
There’s more. They also have to take out insurance to indemnify the client corporate entity should they be accused of infringement as a result of the contractual relationship with the celebrity to ensure the client company is, as they say in our world, ‘held harmless’ and suffers no loss of profits.
Those in the broking market looking to deliver IPI might do well to consider hunting in the celebrity market. Why not start with agencies, after all, they are supposed to be looking out for their clients as well as promoting them? Just a thought. Any business that uses ‘talent’ to promote its wares or services is likely to contract with them in this way and the individual themselves are, most often, set up as a corporate entity. In essence, it’s a business-to-business contract. But, some say, not always a fair one. Opinions on equity aside, IPI for the celebrity hire no longer seems a like a luxury purchase.
The hirer will have a different view. They will have access to advisers who know only too well that using a celebrity to promote sales has its difficulties and potential downsides. It’s quite simple really. Celebrity individuals can at any time do or say something stupid to damage themselves and by association the big corporates they work for. They may unwittingly or otherwise misappropriate another’s idea or sit back while someone steals theirs. Behind the personal services contracting consultancy entity, they are human beings, flawed like the rest of us and often with a fragile ego, a mouth that runs, a temper that flares, hands that wander or the ability to pass off someone else’s idea as their own. That’s why they need to be insured and told to get insured.
A classic pact: actively seeking celebrity to swiftly achieve wealth and status. Or the longer route, to be worth £millions with the ability to get ‘lost’ in a crowd of two, free from public recognition. You choose.
OPUS Underwriting Limited
+44 (0) 203 920 9985
Researched by Ben Fairclough