A 26 year old artist named Nadia Plesner has been sued by Louis Vuitton for brand jacking their famous purses in a anti-genocide campaign. Nadia used the brand to strategically make a point that the media cares more about Paris Hilton and high fashion than the genocide in the nation of Darfur.
Nadia said: “My illustration Simple Living is an idea inspired by the medias constant cover of completely meaningless things. My thought was: Since doing nothing but wearing designerbags and small ugly dogs appearantly is enough to get you on a magasine cover, maybe it is worth a try for people who actually deserves and needs attention.
When we’re presented with the same images in the media over and over again, we might start to believe that they’re important. If you can’t beat them, join them. This is why I have chosen to mix the cruel reality with showbiz elements in my drawing.”
Luxury brands certainly have teams of brand police within their marketing departments to ensure their products aren’t being misplaced or improperly positioned, and took action this time by sending Nadia a cease and desist letter.
Louis Vuitton's response is pretty standard and expected, to protect the image and brand that they’ve been working to build. What to do? Continue the legal path and settle with Nadia? Join the campaign and do some work to help raise funds or promote the cause? Walk away and let the dust simple settle - PR practitioners are probably thinking right now that perhaps they are doing the brand more damage?
Or perhaps as John Bell suggests, divert the attention “What they could do is work with Nadia and other artists to host discussions about media focus. They could partner with a neutral party like my friends at ifocos.org to steward the conversation. Keep the discussion away from luxury brands (which is not Nadia’s point anyhow). LV can become part of the solution without taking on the brunt of an issue they do not own.” Good point John.
So, what do you think LV should do? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Heidi Alexandra Pollard
The Communicators' Coach