Technical Foul: Congratulating Michael Jordan

Technical Foul: Congratulating Michael Jordan

Mike Schechter, Janell Kurtz Journal of Critical Incidents
January 01, 2016
SKU: BUS-429

Region of the world: North America
Topic: Strategy & General Management
Keywords: appropriation, publicity rights, first amendment, business law, marketing, advertising, ethics
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To celebrate the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, the grocery store chain Jewel-Osco was considering an advertisement in a commemorative edition of Sports Illustrated magazine. The proposed advertisement featured basketball shoes, the number “23,” and a short paragraph that wittily included a phrase similar to Jewel-Osco’s tag line. Jewel-Osco did not have Michael Jordan’s permission to use his name or number. The proposed advertisement posed legal and management dilemmas for Jewel-Osco. A celebrity such as Michael Jordan has publicity rights to control his image, but the First Amendment gives broad protections to the right to speak; and our society values the ability to discuss, comment, and share newsworthy events. Should Jewel-Osco run the congratulatory advertisement?

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