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MC5’s Wayne Kramer sues Old Spice over its Guitar Solo soap bottle

By | Published on Wednesday 25 November 2020

MC5’s Wayne Kramer has sued Proctor & Gamble over its Old Spice Guitar Solo body wash, and not just because he’s offended as a guitarist at the idea of his artform being turned into soap. Rather, he’s suing because the illustrated musician that appeared on bottles of said body wash was playing a guitar that looks very like his signature stars and stripes stratocaster.

“Mr Kramer’s established signature stars and stripes Fender guitar has become synonymous with his image and brand”, a lawsuit filed by the MC5 member states. “In 2011”, it adds, “Fender released a limited-run replica of the guitar as the Fender Wayne Kramer Stratocaster. Fender promoted the guitar through a video featuring Mr Kramer holding, displaying, and discussing the guitar”.

To that end, the lawsuit argues, by having an illustrated musician playing a very similar guitar on its soap bottles, Proctor & Gamble was implying that Kramer had endorsed its Guitar Solo body wash. Which, of course, he had not. Nor would he, not least because such a tie-up would majorly clash with Kramer’s work as a social activist.

“Mr Kramer would have never authorised defendant to use his image or likeness”, the legal filing continues, “as it would never be in his interest to be associated with aforesaid body wash product, and more importantly defendant and the advertising website Old Spice, which does not incarnate any of the values Mr Kramer represents and to which [he] has dedicated most parts of his life”.

“As a result”, it adds, “Mr Kramer is appalled, disgusted, and embarrassed to see his image and/or likeness falsely endorsing defendant’s products because such unauthorised use creates a perception of hypocrisy in the public eye and irreparably undermines the important international social work that has been Mr Kramer’s adult life’s mission, the value of which is immense and cannot be overstated”.

Specifically, Kramer accuses Proctor & Gamble of infringing his publicity rights under Californian law and elements of the US-wide Lanham Act.