A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Who?

By Leah Braukman

Maybe you tuned into this year’s Super Bowl because you’re a football fanatic, or maybe you watched for the catchy commercials. This year, some big names were featured in the Super Bowl ads: Howard Stern, David Beckham, and at half time, Jay Leno. And the old stalwarts were back: Coke’s happy polar bears, Go Daddy’s hottie, and E*TRADE’s talking babies.

Chances are, this year’s E*TRADE commercial won’t make quite the splash as the one that debuted during Super Bowl XLIV (that would be 2010). In this particular ad, a baby boy apologizes via Skype to a baby girl who wants to know why he didn’t call last night. He says he was busy on E*TRADE and tries to move on to another subject. She’s not buying it. Suspicious, she presses on. “And that milkaholic Lindsay wasn’t over?” He plays dumb. “Lindsay?” he asks, as if that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

And then, popping into view on his end of the Skype screen a little girl, at his place, and sounding a bit tipsy, asks —: “Milk-a-wha-?”  Poor guy is busted.

Cute ad, I thought, when I first saw it. But Lindsay Lohan (famous for her roles in movies like The Parent Trap and Mean Girls, but nowadays better known for her multiple stints in rehab and court appearances) was sure that the “milkaholic” baby was modeled after her.

Darned sure.

So sure, she sued in New York state court.

As LegalZoom reported, Ms. Lohan sued E*TRADE for $100 million after the ad aired and demanded that it stop running the spot because it violated her right to privacy. In other words, Ms. Lohan alleged, by using the name Lindsay without seeking Ms. Lohan’s permission E*TRADE appropriated — inappropriately — Ms. Lohan’s name, characterization, and personality. This is because, the argument went, that when the public hears “Lindsay”, it thinks Ms. Lohan.

And of course, it’s not just the use of the name Lindsay but that the baby in the ad was addicted to the bottle. An unsubtle reference to Lindsay Lohan’s troubles with the bottle, Ms. Lohan claimed.

We’ll never know how this case might have fared in court because the company settled with the star in September of 2010 for an undisclosed amount.

LegalZoom recently asked if the law was on Ms. Lohan’s side in that case but didn’t venture to answer. We will.   (more…)

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