Australian football legend Warwick Capper is threatening to sue Nando’s for hundreds of thousands of dollars after the company used his name in an advertising campaign to promote its 25th birthday.
The campaign, which featured a number of outdoor ads, included a line that said: “25 years ago Warwick Capper had the shortest shorts in footy and Nando’s hatched down under”.
Capper says he is disappointed Nando’s used his name without permission and is considering taking the chicken chain to court if they don’t pay him close to $300,000.
However, Nando’s believes this figure is too high and has instead offered for Capper to send the company an invoice for $10,000.
Capper has previously featured in a Nando’s advertising campaign, which he says was done with his consent.
“Nando’s used me in a campaign seven years ago, and they went through the right channels,” Capper told The Herald Sun.
“I see this as a bit of a kick in the face. I would have been happy to be part of their campaign had they spoken with me, but now I feel like I have been disrespected. My name is my livelihood.”
In a statement issued to SmartCompany, a Nando’s spokesperson said the company’s offer to pay Capper $10,000 still stands.
“We unfortunately didn’t get Mr Capper’s approval to use his name in this ad,” the Nando’s spokesperson said.
“As soon as this oversight was brought to our attention, we apologised and took action to remove the advertising from the market. Based on the work we have done previously with Mr Capper, we also offered what we believe is fair and reasonable payment for referencing him in these ads.”
Jane Owen, partner at law firm Bird & Bird, told SmartCompany Australia does not have laws preventing individuals from being named without their authorisation.
“The most that Warwick Capper can claim is that it [the ad] represents to a consumer that’s he’s endorsed, affiliated or approved that use,” Owen says.
“It’s very much dictated by context.”
Owen says this case should serve as a reminder to businesses that advertising campaigns need to be tested against a set of standard principles.
“If you’re going to use a third party name, you want to be pretty assured you’re using it in a way that doesn’t suggest an endorsement or approval of any sort,” Owen says.
“Anyone who makes money from their personality by licensing is obviously going to feel aggrieved if their name is going to be used in a commercial context.”
SmartCompany has contacted Warwick Capper for further comment.