F1 driver's personality rights violated in grocery chain's lookalike ad campaign: court


F1 driver Max Verstappen won a court case he filed against Picnic because the online grocery store . The court ruled on Wednesday that Picnic violated Verstappen's personality rights by using the lookalike. The amount in compensation Picnic will have to pay to Verstappen is yet to be determined, NU.nl reports.

Personality right, or the right of publicity, is an individual's right to control the commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness, or other unequivocal aspects of one's identity, according to Wikipedia. 

This case revolved around a video Picnic posted on Facebook in September 2016, and then almost immediately removed again. The video was a variation of a Jumbo ad in which the real Max Verstappen deliverers groceries. Jumbo is one of Verstappen's sponsors. The Picnic video featured a Verstappen lookalike. 

In a previous hearing, Picnic said that the video was meant as a joke and that the production cost no more than 200 euros. According to the online supermarket, they did not consider it necessary to get Verstappen's permission, because the video was a parody. 

Verstappen's lawyer, Lex de Jager, argued that the video was not a joke, but a well thought out media strategy. Using another's identity in advertising is unlawful, he said. 

The judge ruled in Verstappen's favor. "Even though it's just a lookalike, the actor has all the characteristic features of Verstappen. The same cap, the same race outfit, the same hair color, the same silhouette and the same posture", the judge said on Wednesday. According to the court, Verstappen's right to oppose the use of his personality outweighs Picnic's right to free expression in this case. "Verstappen must be able to decide for himself if he wants to use his popularity in business activity."