Bayer has replaced a spokesperson with a “bobblehead replica” to save money. That’s what former Phillips brand pitch woman, Phoebe Jonas, is saying in a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court on Monday.
Jonas has sued Bayer Corporation and Bayer U.S. for $500,000 in damages and wants the Phillips brand to stop using the bobblehead, which she said is “identical” to her, in commercials, according to court documents. For the past two years, Jonas, also known as the “Phillips Lady,” appeared in national ads promoting Phillips’ products, which are part of Bayer Consumer Health’s line of OTC products.
Phillips’ ads featuring a “bobblehead replica” of Jonas began airing “sometime between late January or February 2018 and April 20,” according to the suit. Her contract with the company ran from June 2016 to March 28, 2018.
The suit alleged that Bayer created the bobblehead to “avoid renegotiating the right to continue to use [Jonas’] likeness.”
“The allegations contained in this complaint are baseless,” said Chris Loder, VP and head of external communications for Bayer U.S., via email. “When all of the facts come to light, they will show that Bayer acted appropriately and responsibly throughout this entire matter.”
In response, Jonas’ lawyer, Steven Mintz of Mintz & Gold, said Bayer could resolve this matter but has chosen to “create a big headache for everyone.”
“The bobblehead speaks for itself,” Mintz added.
Jonas’ suit said that Bayer continued to run ads featuring Jonas on its website through April 20 without her permission, even though their agreement expired in March. On April 25, Jonas demanded Bayer cease unauthorized use of a spot featuring her that was on its website. Bayer negotiated a resolution with Jonas for improper use of her likeness between March and April and removed videos that featured her from its website, according to the suit.
However, “advertisements and video of the bobblehead of plaintiff’s likeness remained on Phillips’ website promoting the very same products plaintiff previously promoted as the ‘Phillips Lady,'” according to court documents.
An ad for Phillips’ Colon Health Probiotic on the company’s website features the controversial bobblehead on a car dashboard, passing by road signs with information about the drug.
This story first appeared on prweek.com.