President and First Lady Caught in Advertising Turmoil

(Above: Michelle and Barack Obama pictured in unauthorized ads.)
What’s up with publishing unauthorized images of U.S. politicians as brand endorsements? Well, it seems like a new trend. Within the past few days, the White House has issued statements about ads Michelle and Barack Obama have appeared in without consent.

Above, Michelle Obama is pictured in a recent anti-fur PETA ad. “We did not consent to it,” said Semonti Stephens, spokeswoman for the wife of US President Barack Obama.Oh, PETA, when does the madness stop? We understand that you are trying to save animals, but that doesn’t justify publishing unauthorized photos! To all the readers out there, though, serious question: do you wear fur? Vote here!

Meanwhile, Barack Obama was featured in a Times Square billboard, wearing a Weatherproof jacket with the copy, “Weatherproof Since 1948.” It has come to light that the White House did not give permission for the use of Barack Obama’s image for the ad. The New York Times reported yesterday on the matter, in which a White House aide said, “This ad is clearly misleading because the company suggests the approval or endorsement of the president or the White House that it does not have.” The article points out that the photo was taken on Obama’s trip to China, in which he was wearing what seemed to be a Weatherproof jacket. It appears that Weatherproof had paid the appropriate licensing fee to AP for the billboard image but failed to obtain necessary clearances from the White House.

Oy vey, it’s startilng what a company will do for a little press and sales. Do you think that either of these ads are justified?

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