Branding + Merchandising + Endorsements + Sponsorships

For entertainers and their commercial enterprises, properly and successfully establishing, protecting, and monetizing their brand is critical. Branding in entertainment and media – including merchandising, endorsements, sponsorships, hosting opportunities, experiential events, product placement, social media, apps, fan clubs, and interactive gaming – can represent a powerful and valuable long-term asset for talent and content businesses. This requires the right balance of imaging, audience, product, quality, and, particularly, the right contractual terms and protections for the client. In today’s interconnected commercial environment, where missteps can go viral in minutes, branding deals require sophisticated mechanisms to protect the parties’ interests and maintain the proper control over each opportunity. If your branding project is rejected by the target audience, or if any party fails to honor the agreement, the value of the brands, products, and reputations, and the financial benefits, will evaporate. 

Establishing, maintaining, and protecting your branding elements therefore requires – in addition to an agreement with the right terms and protections for each branding use – a mastery of a web of multiple laws on a range of topics, including trademark and copyright laws, contract law, the processes for registering and disputing the use of domain names and other Internet identifiers (such as social media “user names”), and the body of law commonly referred to as the “right of publicity”.

When it comes to branding and related matters – including merchandising, endorsements, sponsorships, and digital uses – our clients, whether individuals or institutions, benefit from our commercial and strategic perspective, and our extensive experience successfully negotiating and closing a diverse range of deals in this area.

Digital Experience

Branding and related opportunities in the digital space range from social media accounts, to fan club and merchandise websites, to using an artist’s likeness, voice, and music in video games, apps, and other interactive entertainment. We regularly work with creative talent, “app”, interactive entertainment, and other software developers and other content producers, and advertisers in assembling and implementing projects structured to achieve our clients’ strategic branding objectives and to protect their interests.

We have advised clients on, and negotiated and closed, a diverse range of matters and deals relating to branding, merchandising, sponsorships, and endorsements, including the following:

  • Sponsorship agreements
  • Endorsement agreements
  • Marketing agreements
  • Merchandising agreements
  • Agreements for digital services related to artist “fan clubs”
  • License agreements for “life story” rights
  • Product placement agreements
  • Agreements with creative agencies
  • Agreements for purchasing advertising inventory
  • Agreements for online advertising platforms
  • Matters relating to branding, including rights of publicity, commercial or trade torts, trademark, and unfair competition
  • Obtaining necessary copyright, trademark, and right of publicity licenses

The firm's clients for branding, merchandising, sponsorships, and endorsements have included the following:

  • Entertainers and other talent, including:
    • Recording artists
    • DJs
    • actors
  • Creative agencies
  • Online digital advertising platforms
  • Recorded music companies
  • Social media services
  • Cable and satellite television networks
  • Producers of motion pictures
  • Electronic device manufacturers and distributors
  • Marketing companies
  • Merchandising companies

Recent Insights