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View Full Version : Poor taste? Using CKD's accident story in helmet sale advertisement



half seat
Mar. 22, 2010, 10:06 AM
I don't want to link to the advertisement here because I don't want to violate the board's advertising policies. I will try to explain it as best I can.

On a local horsey web site, a tack store is advertising a helmet sale. The advertisement has a little blurb urging people to wear helmets off to the side. In the blurb it mentions how Courtney King-Dye had a "simple fall" with "horrific results" and that CKD did not have a helmet on at the time. Then it links to her web site and asks everyone to keep CKD in their prayers.

Am I overly sensitive in thinking this is in EXTREMELY poor taste? I am sure that horse professionals are also very upset about CKD's accident and want her to heal... but I think mentioning her accident (and the fact that she wasn't wearing a helmet) alongside an ad for a helmet sale is in extremely poor taste. :( I understand wanting to ask for prayers for CKD, etc. I don't, however, think it was appropriate to do so next to a helmet ad. I am open to the idea that others might disagree. Thoughts?

ridgeback
Mar. 22, 2010, 10:11 AM
Yes I think you are being overly sensitive. People are wanting manufacturers to donate to Courtney and if that is Ok I think based on how you explained it what they are doing seems OK.

half seat
Mar. 22, 2010, 10:12 AM
I see your point. And it will drive more people to her web site (people who will hopefully donate).

There is nothing in the advertisement that says that money is being donated by the store to CKD, though. If they were donating the proceeds or a part of the proceeds, I'd have NO problem with it. However, the ad does not suggest that at all. It's just an ad that says that a helmet is better than a trip to the trauma ward or a coma. (Yes, the ad says that.)

ridgeback
Mar. 22, 2010, 10:18 AM
There is nothing in the advertisement that says that money is being donated to CKD. IF they were donating the proceeds or a part of the proceeds, I'd have NO problem with it. However, the ad does not suggest that AT ALL. It's just an ad that says that a helmet is better than a trip to the trauma ward or a coma. (Yes, the ad says that.)

No I was just saying people were thinking the helmet companies should donate and some could say WHY? I don't think either is offensive and what they are saying is true. People know about Courtney in the dressage world but many in other disciplines do not know and if it can wake people up I say good.

caddym
Mar. 22, 2010, 10:29 AM
I think that is offensive and that they are trying to capatilize on this event

NOMIOMI1
Mar. 22, 2010, 10:32 AM
Without Courtneys ability to chime in with her wants on the matter, Id say yes, its early, tacky, and let us all remember that to her family this is new and scary no matter how OLD the news gets to us.

:(

My grandfather was very famous in his sport, and when he had his first accident and walked away from it there were all kinds of people using his "recovery" as an ad for the safety equipment used.

The next accident, IT failed, and he passed away when I was ten :( Nobody had an ad then, that said, OOPs, actually it cant save you when the accident is bad enough.

Helmets are not miracles in a hat box, they protect as much as they can, BUT from what others have said about this type of injury, it CAN happen with a helmet as well.

Coreene
Mar. 22, 2010, 10:36 AM
What I think is in poor taste is people thinking helmet companies should make donations, as opposed to choosing to make them. I think the tack store is doing what we see done each and every day, whether it is air conditioners during a long hot summer, Honda and others slashing their prices to try and grab buyers who won't go near Toyotas, etc. I'm sure to be flamed, but I think it is great marketing.

AnotherRound
Mar. 22, 2010, 10:43 AM
I agree, its marketing and nothing more. "taste" doesn't come into it anywhere.

JSwan
Mar. 22, 2010, 10:49 AM
It's just marketing. Nothing new or different.

I personally find this type of marketing in poor taste.

dwblover
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:13 AM
I think intention is a huge factor here though. They could just be making a quick buck (in which case it's very distasteful), or perhaps the store owner is genuinely hoping to inspire a few customers to use a helmet when they have not up to this point.

opel
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:21 AM
I think it's extremely distasteful and I would think twice before buying anything from that tack store again. CKD is still fighting for her self and this place is trying to make money off of her accident? Appalling.

Trakehner
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:26 AM
Not poor taste. If her accident helps one person not suffer her terrible injury by them buying and wearing a helmet...her accident wasn't in vain.

If the helmet company said, "If she'd been wearing OUR helmet"...yep, I think that'd be in poor taste. If they said, "If she'd been wearing A helmet"...not in poor taste.

rabicon
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:37 AM
Without seeing the real ad its hard to say. It sounds as if they were just saying on the side that wearing a helmet could help with accidents like this and if thats the case then I don't believe its in poor taste and makes since. If this accident can be brought to light and help others see the importance in wearing a helmet then thats great. Now if they are saying you need to buy our helmet because looked what happened and "OUR" helmet is the best to prevent this is another story then they are using it to sell their product, but to say buy a helmet because it can help prevent injury like this and is very important then I'm fine with that. JMO

Coreene
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:44 AM
Having been someone with a TBI as the result of a nasty Humpty Dumpty fall when not wearing my helmet, I can honestly say that if the tack store that was then at our equestrian center had put up a sign saying "Coreene didn't wear a helmet - ours are on sale to make sure you will," I'd have been all for it.

Eclectic Horseman
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:46 AM
I think that CKD has a viable lawsuit against them for using her name/likeness in an advertisement to sell their product without her permission and without remuneration.

Athletes get paid big bucks for promoting products. An athlete's name and photo are valuable commodities. They also have some control over the products that they choose to endorse and how their image is depicted in those ads. (Do you think that a condom manufacturer could get away with using a photo or name of John Edwards in connection with their products without his permission?)

I hope that if Courtney's legal representative is informed of this that they take immediate action to get whoever is missappropriating her name and likeness to cease and desist immediately and that they be required to pay money damages to her. :mad:

For you non-lawyers out there-

http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/using-name-or-likeness-another

poltroon
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:47 AM
I would also point out that your average horse person probably doesn't know about her accident.

I am sure there is a spike in helmet purchases. Remember, the tack shop could also use the opportunity to tack an extra $5 on to every price. I don't think a sale is in bad taste at all.

monstrpony
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:49 AM
I don't think what the OP describes is in poor taste, any more than some of the posts on this BB that have commented about the presence or absence of a helmet in CKD's situation.

I do think some of the extrapolations that people have assumed are real or implied *would* be in poor taste--i.e., blatantly making $$ off of CKD's situation. But what the OP describes, which is simply informing people, with a real example, of what can happen without a helmet, and then asking for good wishes for CKD--that alone, is not.

mp
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:54 AM
Whether it's in bad taste or not is a matter of opinion. But they can be sued, unless they got her permission to use her name and web site as part of an ad for their products.

ETA -- EH, great minds. I don't have a citation to prove it. I've just been in advertising long enough to know better than to do that.

opel
Mar. 22, 2010, 11:56 AM
A lot of you are getting very close to saying "if the accident gets people to wear helmets, it's worth it and wasn't in vain". Pretty strident stuff. I wish CKD the very best and wish this had never happened to her--this accident will never be "worth it"--whether some of us reconsider helmet use at times or not. Whether we all are now forced to wear helmets at shows or not.

CosMonster
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:08 PM
I think it depends on how it is done. If it is used in a "it can happen to anyone, so we're putting our helmets on sale to encourage you to protect yourself" kind of way, then I don't think it's in poor taste.

And I don't think people are saying that the accident is worth it if more people start wearing helmets. I think it's a natural response for people to try to find some good from a tragedy. It doesn't lessen what happened to CKD, and I'm sure everyone wants her to make a speedy and full recovery. I think it's normal for people to hope that, if this had to happen, it can help save others from similar injury.

In other words, no one hopes someone will suffer a brain injury. But, if it happens, people hope some good comes from it.

half seat
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:18 PM
Thanks for all of the opinions.

FWIW, the sale wasn't prompted by CKD's accident. IIRC from seeing past advertisements for this store, they are having a sale where a new line of items goes on sale each week (one week boots, one week helmets, one week gloves, etc.). So this isn't a sale to promote helmet use as a result of CKD's accident.

And to be clear and fair, there are no claims that any one particular helmet would have saved anyone, CKD or otherwise. Just an ad for a helmet sale that states that helmets are better than ending up hospitalized or in a coma (we all agree with that, I think...) and a blurb to the side discussing that people should be wearing helmets. In that blurb, it states that CKD had an accident, wasn't wearing a helmet, etc. It then links to CKD's web site.

I'm trying to explain the ad as neutrally as possible. Again, I don't want to post it and violate the board's advertising rules, nor do I want to draw any unwanted negative attention to the store.

TheHorseProblem
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:23 PM
In other words, no one hopes someone will suffer a brain injury. But, if it happens, people hope some good comes from it.

That.

By the way, COTH favorite SmartPak sent out an email blast featuring helmets. It didn't mention CKD, but was also opportunistic.

half seat
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:26 PM
By the way, COTH favorite SmartPak sent out an email blast featuring helmets. It didn't mention CKD, but was also opportunistic.

Yes, I got that, too... as well as emails about helmet sales from lots of other retailers, too. None, however, used CKD's name or a description of the accident (i.e., simple fall, CKD wasn't wearing a helmet).

mp
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:27 PM
And to be clear and fair, there are no claims that any one particular helmet would have saved anyone, CKD or otherwise. Just an ad for a helmet sale that states that helmets are better than ending up hospitalized or in a coma (we all agree with that, I think...) and a blurb to the side discussing that people should be wearing helmets. In that blurb, it states that CKD had an accident, wasn't wearing a helmet, etc. It then links to CKD's web site.

Doesn't matter how it's used -- blurb to side or whatever. You cannot use someone's name in an ad without her permission. Period.

rabicon
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:28 PM
So really if its a blurb to the side it really isn't no worse than us blurbbing on him about how we should or should not wear helmets and that CKD should or shouldn't have had one on. They were just explaining what happend with her website attached. They were not even using her in the blurb by saying wear a helmet. They did that seperate so I see no problem, they are just making people aware of the situation with her. Also I see no law suit if her name is NOT used directly or her likeness directly to selling a helmet.

ESG
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:30 PM
Consumers are more responsive to ads that feature celebrities. If they weren't, Shaquille O'Neal, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning wouldn't be the multi-millionaires they are. I don't see anything wrong with using a story about a celebrity to promote use of a product that can save someone's life. Opportunistic? Yes. Ghoulish or inappropriate? No.

JMO. :cool:

ESG
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:31 PM
Doesn't matter how it's used -- blurb to side or whatever. You cannot use someone's name in an ad without her permission. Period.

And how do we know that no one got CKD's family's permission to do just that? Lot of ASS-U-MEing going on here.

Sandra6500
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:37 PM
Seems in poor taste to me as well.

ESG
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:41 PM
Okay, so I read the website's home page. There is no use of CKD's name or likeness in any way that could be described as advertising, so no permission is necessary. Courtney's accident was mentioned in the same fashion that a news article would mention it - merely stating that it had happened, and she wasn't wearing a helmet at the time. It also provided a link to her website, so that readers could "keep her in your prayers". Quite nice, actually.

So, not actionable, or even objectionable, IMO.

mp
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:44 PM
So really if its a blurb to the side it really isn't no worse than us blurbbing on him about how we should or should not wear helmets and that CKD should or shouldn't have had one on. They were just explaining what happend with her website attached. They were not even using her in the blurb by saying wear a helmet. They did that seperate so I see no problem, they are just making people aware of the situation with her. Also I see no law suit if her name is NOT used directly or her likeness directly to selling a helmet.

If the ad is adjacent to an article about head injuries that cites the accident, that is perfectly legal.

You cannot, however, use her name WITHIN THE AD in any way, shape or form, under any circumstances, without her express permission. It doesn't matter if it's in good taste or not. It doesn't matter if the cause is good and right and just.

The advertiser is seeking to benefit from the association (in the form of sales) without compensating her or asking permission. I'm not a lawyer, but I've been in advertising for 30+ years. And no advertiser or advertising agency in their right mind would ever do that without written permission.

ESG -- I'm not ASSUMING anything. I cited the law.

PS -- I don't know what web site you're talking about. I'm just relying on what was said in the first post -- that the ad included her name and a reference to her not wearing a helment.

half seat
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:46 PM
Okay, so I read the website's home page. There is no use of CKD's name or likeness in any way that could be described as advertising, so no permission is necessary. Courtney's accident was mentioned in the same fashion that a news article would mention it - merely stating that it had happened, and she wasn't wearing a helmet at the time. It also provided a link to her website, so that readers could "keep her in your prayers". Quite nice, actually.

So, not actionable, or even objectionable, IMO.

Home page? Or advertisement? The tack store in question doesn't have a home page that I am aware of. What you likely read was an advertisement on a horse-related web site. And the blurb was part of that advertisement.

Whether it's actionable, I don't know (and I am a lawyer, but a different kind)... It is not implying an endorsement for sure. But the blurb IS part of a paid advertisement on a web site, not a mention on the home page of a tack store's web site (which would not be objectionable to me).

ESG
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:46 PM
Yes mp, and that law isn't applicable here.

half seat, it looked the same as if/when Dressage Daily had reported on the accident. It's news, but not advertising. Even if someone from CKD's organization got their knickers in a twist over it, (and I can't see why they would) I seriously doubt they'd have legal recourse.

Carry on. :cool:

half seat
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:54 PM
Yes mp, and that law isn't applicable here.

half seat, it looked the same as if/when Dressage Daily had reported on the accident. It's news, but not advertising. Even if someone from CKD's organization got their knickers in a twist over it, (and I can't see why they would) I seriously doubt they'd have legal recourse.

Carry on. :cool:

There is a huge difference between a magazine reporting it and it being part of an advertisement legally speaking. Though, to be clear, my question about it has little to do with legal recourse and everything to do with whether or not it is in bad taste (which it was IMHO). However, this was not a report on a web site alongside an advertisement, nor was it a mention on the tack store's home page. It was part of the paid advertisement by the tack store on a completely different web site. Since that distinction seems important to some people here, I wanted to make that clear.

ESG
Mar. 22, 2010, 01:01 PM
Well, let's think about this for a minute. Let's say I have a website, and on that website's homepage, one of the things I have is a photo and description of a horse I'm offering for sale. After CKD's accident, I decide to put in a small paragraph on the homepage, reporting her accident, exhorting people to wear helmets, and putting in a link to her website. Am I using CKD to advertise? Of course not. I'm seeing this in the same light.

JMO. :cool:

Phaxxton
Mar. 22, 2010, 01:02 PM
I saw a very similar advertisement on a local web site, but am not sure if it's the same one. Perhaps it is.

If it is the same one, the little "news-like" blurb on the side was definitely part of the ad and NOT a separate news story from the web site.

It got a raised eyebrow out of me. Definitely opportunistic, but not sure that it totally offends my sense of decency either... Also, FWIW, if it is the same advertisement, this store had this sale planned for quite a while. I think they probably included the blurb about Courtney as an afterthought, since it is apropos. Hopefully the link to her web site will encourage more prayers and more donations for Courtney, too.

I won't comment on the legality of it, as I just don't have enough information to do that. I can, however, see how some people could think it is in bad taste.

half seat
Mar. 22, 2010, 01:05 PM
Well, let's think about this for a minute. Let's say I have a website, and on that website's homepage, one of the things I have is a photo and description of a horse I'm offering for sale. After CKD's accident, I decide to put in a small paragraph on the homepage, reporting her accident, exhorting people to wear helmets, and putting in a link to her website. Am I using CKD to advertise? Of course not. I'm seeing this in the same light.

JMO. :cool:

And just to be clear, the tack store does not own, run, operate, or have anything to do with the web site on which it advertised. It is just a paid advertiser. It's not as if they put this on their own web site where they otherwise happen to advertise things for sale. They included it as part of a single ad (one of many they have placed on this site over the years) that advertises a helmet sale.

That's a very big difference from simply putting something about Courtney on one's own web site that also happens to offer things for sale.

mp
Mar. 22, 2010, 01:09 PM
Yes, and that law isn't applicable here.

Carry on. :cool:

Based on the information in the original post and the subsequent one, the law would be applicable. And people who are familiar with advertising law know that and, indeed, we will carry on by not exposing ourselves or our clients to that liability.

halfseat, I vote bad taste. Not because of the timing, but the blatant use of Ms. Dye's name and her injury IN AN AD TO SELL PRODUCTS. That is just wrong.

I got the SmartPak email that advertised helmets (which made no mention of anyone), and that didn't bother me. There are undoubtedly people out there helmet shopping right now and there's no reason not to advertise your wares when you know there is increased awareness.

Right now, there is a serial rapist at large in my city. Guess what? I'm seeing all kinds of ads for home security systems. Some automakers have increased advertising in the wake of the Toyota recalls. The home security systems don't mention the rapes, nor do the automobile ads mention any competitive products. But they really don't have to. The tack shop should have done the same.

ESG
Mar. 22, 2010, 01:28 PM
Well, then we'll have to agree to disagree. I did read the webpage, and the non-ad. I might agree with you if the (actual) helmet ad were the only other thing on the page, but it wasn't - not by a long chalk. Perhaps you should read the material in question, before you make assumptions?

ESG
Mar. 22, 2010, 01:29 PM
And just to be clear, the tack store does not own, run, operate, or have anything to do with the web site on which it advertised. It is just a paid advertiser. It's not as if they put this on their own web site where they otherwise happen to advertise things for sale. They included it as part of a single ad (one of many they have placed on this site over the years) that advertises a helmet sale.

That's a very big difference from simply putting something about Courtney on one's own web site that also happens to offer things for sale.

Quite true. :yes:

mp
Mar. 22, 2010, 02:21 PM
Well, then we'll have to agree to disagree. I did read the webpage, and the non-ad. I might agree with you if the (actual) helmet ad were the only other thing on the page, but it wasn't - not by a long chalk. Perhaps you should read the material in question, before you make assumptions?

I just did, as someone kindly sent me the link.

I stand by what I said. It's an advertisement that uses Courtney King-Dye's name in it. The reference to Ms Dye is not part of an article. In fact, there is nothing other than ads to be found on that web page. The reference to her is part of an ad for that tack shop and right next to copy on the shop's helmet sale that touts a new helmet as much less money than "a trip to to a head injury trauma center or worse, a Coma." Nice.

It matters not that there are other things on the web page no more than it would if it were a printed page that contained several ads. Or if it's in bad taste or not. If they did it without her permission, it is a violation of her right to control and make money from the commercial use of her name.

You can disagree if you want, but you'll still be wrong.

MintHillFarm
Mar. 22, 2010, 02:26 PM
It's just marketing. Nothing new or different.

I personally find this type of marketing in poor taste.

I agree. It is the shock factor in this case of advertising...

ESG
Mar. 22, 2010, 07:39 PM
I just did, as someone kindly sent me the link.

I stand by what I said. It's an advertisement that uses Courtney King-Dye's name in it. The reference to Ms Dye is not part of an article. In fact, there is nothing other than ads to be found on that web page. The reference to her is part of an ad for that tack shop and right next to copy on the shop's helmet sale that touts a new helmet as much less money than "a trip to to a head injury trauma center or worse, a Coma." Nice.

It matters not that there are other things on the web page no more than it would if it were a printed page that contained several ads. Or if it's in bad taste or not. If they did it without her permission, it is a violation of her right to control and make money from the commercial use of her name.

You can disagree if you want, but you'll still be wrong.

I'm disagreeing, and I think you're wrong. But that's a matter for her attorney and family to decide, isn't it? I'm thinking they have a bit too much on their plate at the moment, to consider a frivolous lawsuit against someone wishing her well.

JMO. :cool:

mp
Mar. 22, 2010, 09:42 PM
,
I'm disagreeing, and I think you're wrong. But that's a matter for her attorney and family to decide, isn't it? I'm thinking they have a bit too much on their plate at the moment, to consider a frivolous lawsuit against someone wishing her well.

JMO. :cool:

I never advocated a lawsuit. What I said was:


If they did it without her permission, it is a violation of her right to control and make money from the commercial use of her name.


And it is. Period. Full stop. But you free to hold onto your opinion that it is not, however wrongheaded and ill-informed.

But, as with most flagrant violations of this sort, no lawsuit is necessary. Just a simple cease and desist letter to the ignoramuses "wishing her well" (and just incidentally trying to make a buck at the same time -- bleah). You don't even need a lawyer to do that.

If the advertisers have more than one brain cell, light will dawn and they will change the ad. If not they'll pay some lawyer to tell them "Yes, you're in violation, you idiots. Stop it now."

Eclectic Horseman
Mar. 23, 2010, 10:17 AM
mp is 100% correct about the legal issue.

On the moral issue, personally it sickens me to see a business attempting to exploit a personal tragedy for their own financial gain. :no:

EqTrainer
Mar. 23, 2010, 10:24 AM
I think it is in poor taste but if one person goes out and buys a helmet because of it and saves their head from being cracked open then it was worthwhile. Maybe that is what it takes for some people; to see it spelled out like that, I don't know...

mvp
Mar. 24, 2010, 07:49 AM
Do you remember the part where the main guy mentions Doritos and Gatorade when he says Grace before eating dinner? Mentioning these products in prayer was part of his sponsorship deal.

Just a hop skip and a jump from mentioning CKD to sell something.

An ad that progresses from "news" of her accident to "buy helmets from us" to "keep her in your prayers" exploitative and crass. Why? Because this could have been done otherwise. The reason to buy and wear helmets exist without reference to CKD's fall. The sale, I presume, similarly was independent.

We separate church and state, but not church and money if there is any to be made. We just seem not to care whether spirituality or wealth is the outcome.

suzy
Mar. 24, 2010, 08:17 AM
Disclaimer—I haven’t seen the helmet ad mentioned. If it is as described, I would agree that it’s in poor taste but probably entirely legal. After all, the tack shop is not claiming that CKD is endorsing helmets. If they were, they would have to have her permission. Instead, they are just making the point that helmets, in most cases, can reduce the severity of an injury. As much as I’d like to see every rider wearing a helmet, I don’t think any tack shop should be using CKD’s name in their ads. It’s insensitive and disrespectful to CKD and her family. JMHO of course.