Fashion Law: Artist Prince to Pay Almost $4Million To Perfume Company for Breach of Brand Ambassador Agreement

In Fashion Law by FASHIONENTLAW™

I have discussed brand ambassador agreements in the past. I have also said when you sign up to be the face of a brand as a celebrity or personality, there are important obligations that come with it that must be fulfilled. A key part of such obligation is promotions. The recent case by a perfume company called Revelations, against the artist Prince, underscores my point.

“A New York judge Friday ordered pop star Prince to pay $3.95 million to a perfume maker for failing to promote the 3121 line of scents.

Prince was sued by Revelations Perfume and Cosmetics in 2008 for failing to promote the perfume, which was supposedly inspired by his 2006 album3121. The company said it spent millions of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses in reliance upon Prince’s commitment to promote, and when the matter went before a special referee, the estimation of actual damage was accepted. Now, a New York Supreme Court judge has confirmed the award.

Throughout the years, Prince has made a series of unique moves in the music industry, from the changing his name to the way he bundled the sale of albums with concert tickets.

On 3121, which became the first Prince album to debut atop the Billboard 200, the musician again made a highly interesting arrangement: Tying an album with a scent and clueing Universal Music Publishing Group into 50 percent of the perfume profits. Revelations made the licensing agreement with Universal, with an expectation that Prince would perform for them.

But something didn’t smell right.

Revelations accused Prince of refusing media interviews and doing in-store events. “Since July 2007, despite repeated attempts by Revelations, there have been virtually no communications from anyone who could commit to or coordinate any promotional efforts by Prince,” the lawsuit stated.

Minimum sales requirements weren’t met, and the licensing agreement was canceled.

The dispute wound up in court, with the company’s founder telling a special referee about the Prince statements he relied upon to make expenditures and with an expert testifying about the importance of a celebrity’s active participation in his name fragrance.

The referee found that the evidence supported the company’s claims of fraudulent inducement, fraud and tortious interference and awarded its out-of-pocket losses of $3,948,798.58 while denying lost profit damages and an award of punitive damages. . .”

THR,Esq. has the full story.

Photocredit: Penner via Wikicommons/Creative Commons Attribution License