My Remarks At The WOMMA Summit

Because I couldn’t make it to the WOMMA Summit, I had a friend read my remarks. Poor guy.

This blog post is a bit different. Mostly because it isn’t a blog post. Instead, I was supposed to be in Las Vegas this week for the WOMMA Summit but I couldn’t make it. I had some slides for the panel I was a part of (the first panel I’ve ever been in with its own trailer) so I prepared some comments and had my friend and co-panelist agree to print out my remarks, seal them in an envelope, and read them aloud for the first time at the summit. The [CLICK] directions were for him to advance the slides, so it doesn’t make much sense without the slides, but I’m printing them as proof of Jim’s reading ability.

Greetings, WOMMA. This paper was written by Ryan Garcia and is being read really quickly by Jim Dudukovich because we’re certainly behind schedule by now. Unfortunately, due to some health issues, and not AT ALL because Ryan owes a small gambling debt to a man named Shifty who only has one eye, Ryan was unable to travel to Las Vegas this week. Jim has graciously volunteered to read these remarks as he guides us through Ryan’s slides.

Rest assured, good WOMM-ites, that these remarks are being read as written. For example, Jim Dudukovich is a bit fat poopy head. See? Just as written. And if you have any doubts then feel free to check the full transcript of Ryan’s paper over at somelaw.wordpress.com (being published right this second).

So you should have a giant War slide up on the screen. Awesome. Now I, Jim Dudukovich, will sing to you the immortal words of Edwin Starr when he sang: War!

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Huh. Yeah.

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What is it good for?

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Teaching you about unknown potential social media opponents and giving you tips on keeping the peace after a social media crisis.

I love that song.

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But War is here to tell you that you are all under attack!

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And you don’t even know it!

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In case you were wondering, that’s bad. As Sun Tzu said…

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“If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” Or as G. I. Joe once said…

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“Knowing is half the battle.” Or as, I, Jim Dudukovich, the biggest Justin Bieber fan in this room once said…

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“Justin Bieber? AHHHHHHHH!” That’s supposed to be a shriek like a girl, Jim. C’mon now.

So you must be wondering who is attacking you?

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The answer should be obvious.

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Celebrities.

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Celebrities are tricky.

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Legally speaking, celebrities are better than you with a whole set of rights that you don’t have. I don’t mean you, the famous people in this room, I mean you, Jim Dudukovich, who is reading this right now and regretting that he agreed to read every word Ryan wrote. Words like susceptible and onomatopoeia.

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We all want to work with celebrities but stay within the bounds of the FTC Endorsement Guidelines.

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That can be tricky when you have a tweet like this. A celebrity tweeting something about a major brand. A brand that has paid the celebrity. And a celebrity who has not disclosed her commercial affiliation with that brand.

But if you think just that tweet is risky, let me show you the rest of the screen.

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Now that the room has calmed down from its mighty uproar, I can confirm this was a live grab from a CNBC video on the day the tweet came out. Complete with the wrong day and the word “TEETED” But why was CNBC covering this tweet?

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Because JC Penny’s stock was spiking and this was getting the blame. That’s not the kind of publicity brands are hoping for when they hire celebrities.

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By now you’re thinking “But I have a contract that requires the celebrity to disclose our relationship so that’s enough!” Well, if you think that is enough then raise your hand and I, Jim Dudukovich, will come down and give you a $10 bill after the panel.

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You might want to save that money, though, because even if your contract requires the disclosure but the celebrity fails to do so, your brand could be liable.

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So you should monitor and respond as a best practice. If you see a tweet come out without the proper disclosure, then disclose the relationship yourself. Immediately.

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Or, even bester (yes, it’s a word!), maybe your brand’s site has a single page that proactively discloses all paid relationships? That would be as awesome as I am a Justin Bieber fan. And I am a HUGE Bieber fan.

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Celebrities also need to be watched for when they spontaneously engage with your brand. Because they’re celebrities for a reason. For example, every day there are approximately 25,000 social media conversations about Dell.

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Then one day…

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Louis Tomlinson from the amazing, incredible band One Direction, a band that I, Jim Dudukovich, personally believe rivals The Beatles in sheer musical talent, sent the following tweet:

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This tweet wasn’t anything special, just a simple request for help. But look at these numbers.

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Retweets and favorites sent Dell metrics through the roof that day. Responding to that issue became a priority. So you need to watch and engage appropriately.

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Speaking of engaging appropriately, your legal team has to engage in a social media appropriate manner.

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They must know nothing is confidential when it comes to third parties.

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They must know public opinion will decide your fate.

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And you only get one shot.

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So the old way of trying to sue everyone that says something bad about you doesn’t work anymore. If it ever did.

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Instead, it turns out Edwin Starr was right. Here, let me sing this to you.

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“They say we must fight to keep our freedom, But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way”

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And there is

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As in the case of a Jack Daniel’s cease and desist letter that was so nice…

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That Mashable called it the most polite cease and desist letter ever. It was kind, it offered to help, and while it pointed out their legal rights it didn’t make an ass of themselves doing it. Yeah, I said ass. I’ll say ass all day long.

In fact, I have a few more choice words to say to Shifty who’s probably in the room.

“Hey, Shifty, you piece of {FILE READ ERROR}

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1 Comment

Filed under Celebrities, FTC Endorsement Guidelines, Social Media Lawyers, Social Media Risks, Twitter

One response to “My Remarks At The WOMMA Summit

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