Bruce Willis Seeks Pay for Endorsement
By Robert Marich
Sept 18 2018-Bruce Willis is sending legal representatives to a Paris court to try to collect $20m Euros ($26m) from his celebrity endorsement deal with Sobieski vodka. Belvédère SA, which owns the Polish spirits brand Sobieski, is in financial reorganization after an acquisition of a rival went sour.
The Willis tie is credit with being a success, raising U.S. sales from 70,000 Sobieski cases of vodka in 2008 to 1m cases in 2010, and the distiller says it is pleased with the Willis association.
A Dow Jones News article says that the financial reorganization calls for Willis to receive one-third payment and lose his 2.6% stake in the company. It’s not clear if the actor will accept or oppose that.
“The actor began endorsing Sobieski, a Polish brand of vodka, in 2009, appearing in dozens of tongue-in-cheek television commercials and at promotional parties,” says the Dow Jones News article. “He also appeared in black-and-white newspaper ads in which he was quoted saying: ‘I am very selective about what products I choose to associate myself with.’”
Famous Hollywood talent has traditionally been standoffish about endorsing products, feeling it undercuts celebrity and status as artist. This despite music and sports figures aggressively collecting money as pitchmen. In recent years, old taboos have faded and high-riding Hollywood stars are taking more gigs as celebrity presenters.
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