A Campaign quote from the Weatherproof Garment’s owner Freddie Stollmack that was strategically placed over a photo of President Barack Obama while he visited the Great Wall of China this past November. Opportunistic in approach, attempting to run the ads in local New York publications to no avail, presented a great platform to invest in unveiling the photo as an editorial billboard advertisement in the middle of times square.
The company bought the right to use the image from the Associated Press. However, when they bought the photograph, Weatherproof was also expected to seek out other necessary permissions. The presidential administration is calling for the billboard to be removed.
In the past, the White House has usually refrained from letting companies use Obama’s name for commercial purposes. Intellectual property lawyer Barbara Solomon stated, “From a legal point of view, it’s not legal. It violates Mr. Obama’s right of publicity, his right to control his appearance and his likeness.”
Weatherproof President Freddie Stollmack claimed he was surprised by all the attention the billboard was receiving. He said, “We saw a picture of President Obama visiting the Great Wall of China and we said, ‘Boy that looks like our coat.’ ”
When asked about the controversy Wednesday, Stollmack responded with the notion that the administration should congratulate his company on making Obama look so good. Just goes to show you that, when you’re the most visible man in the world, anybody can cash in on your celebrity.