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Masokola shames corporates for exploitation

A local journalist, Alfred Masokola has condemned some local corporates for exploitation masqueraded as goodwill towards celebrities.

Masokola was speaking in relation to “Good luck” messages which has been pouring in from different corporates to Miss Botswana 2021, Palesa Molefe. Palesa was set to compete on a grand finale in a few hours before it got postponed.

The journalist is of the view that there is no goodwill in messages from some corporates, but just an opportunity for them to ride on to celebrities’ popularity for their own gain.

“In Privacy Laws, this falls under, “Misappropriation of name and likeness” – when someone else uses your name or likeness for his benefit, such as for an advertisement or commercial purposes.

We have seen this happening many times, and before Miss World, we saw it during the Olympics where some corporates engaged in these opportunistic endeavours. You will see an advert with company logo and images of athletes: “We are proud of our athletes”, “Congratulations to Team Botswana”, “We wish Team Botswana best of luck.”

Most of you think these are innocent gestures, but they are not. What do athletes benefit from being wished the best of luck? ZILCH! But these corporates benefit a lot by illegally and unethically associating their brands with these athletes, among others the goodwill which they will enjoy from the unsuspecting public. They are exploiting their image. These brands are illegally making the athletes endorse their brands.” Masokola observed.

Masokola gave an example of one big corporate entity, which in its entire history, never had more than sixty (60) likes, today clocked nearly two thousand (2000) likes after posting an advert with a picture of Palesa Molefe, and the cliche encouragement message. Masokola belives that it is without a shadow of doubt that the said post has reached an audience of more than one hundred thousand hundred thousand (100 000). “Commercially, Palesa benefitted nothing, but her brand was exploited for likes and goodwill.” he said.

The journalist says corporates should understand that celebrities- actors, footballers, musicians and the likes make most of their money by using their brands to endorse other brands. The brands which they worked hard to build. As such, Masokola says corporates should do the right thing, and desist from using pictures and names of celebrities they do not have agreements with.

“Our corporates should do the right thing. If you want to use Palesa in your promotional material, call Miss Botswana or call Palesa and let there be an agreement. We cannot be having institutions making a killing off of a hardworking 22-year-old for ZERO in return. It’s daylight robbery and exploitation especially when you consider that during preparations of Miss World, none of these big shot corporates came forward to sponsor the young lady in anything she may need. You want to ride on her popularity, her likeness and her brand to push the goodwill of your brand for nothing in return. That’s EXPLOITATIVE, UNETHICAL AND ILLEGAL. You can do that if you are a PROUD SPONSOR!” he charged.

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