How Maisha flour fined for using Model’s image to advertise it’s products

Maisha Flour Ltd will have to compensate a model and brand ambassador for different products, Florence Mwihaki Kamande Ksh. 650,000 for using her image without her consent. The ruling was made by Judge L.N. Mugambi on September 22, 2023, who noted that although Mugambi worked for Maisha Flour Ltd., the company nevertheless erected billboards around Thika Road Mall, James Gichuru Road, and Buruburu in Nairobi bearing her image and branded with the Maisha Flour Ltd. product without her express authority.

In an affidavit, Kamande claimed that she had not consented to her image or likeness being used for purposes of advertising and creating the impression that she was endorsing the product. She further claimed that her image and likeness were exploited for commercial gain without any permission or compensation, as they were used to advertise Maisha Unga, thereby violating her right to publicity, which is the exclusive right of an individual to market his or her image, likeness, or persona for financial gain. She claimed that it was shocking to find her images on billboards erected along the highways without her consent.

In a replying affidavit, Maisha Flour Ltd. stated that it is a manufacturer and exporter of wheat products, which include Maisha Flour and Maisha Feeds, and that part of its business strategy is to widely market its brands by outsourcing marketing needs to other entities.

The company affirmed that it entered into a contract with a marketing agency called TDF Group Ltd. to run a new advertisement wholly and exclusively. Kamnade submitted that she is a well-known brand ambassador in Kenya and Africa, having worked with Multichoice/DSTV South Africa and Nigeria, Safaricom, NCBA, CFC Stanbic Bank, Edulink International School, and Equity Bank, all with a wide viewership. She thus urged the Court to grant her Ksh. 30,000,000/-

The judge noted, “On the basis of the foregoing facts, it is my finding that the petitioner’s images were used for the campaign of Maisha Atta Mark 1 without her consent”.

“On the basis of facts on the record, I do not think so. I find it absolutely demeaning and disrespectful to the person of the petitioner that her images should be displayed on public billboards along major roads and estates within the city, promoting a product she had no idea of”.

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