Sunnier Side Of The Home Office – September 2, 2020

It (Tiger King) really should've been focused on the animals and so I'm hoping Dancing With the Stars will do that."

- Get ready you cool cats and kittens, Carol Baskin, the big-cat rights activist featured on Netflix's "Tiger King" is one of the celebrity cast members in the upcoming season of Dancing with the Stars.

Fair Use vs. Commercial use and Apple vs. Fortnite
By: Cara Orlowski

First and foremost, there is no fair use in commercials. Let me make that crystal clear. A brand cannot use someone else's copyrighted materials to sell something without licensing said materials. Goldieblox vs. the Beastie Boys certainly made that clear back in 2012 or so. It is well-known the Beastie Boys do not license their music for commercial purposes. That point was specifically included in Adam "MCA" Yauch's last will and testament. I give Goldieblox props for trying though; they turned a misogynistic song into a "Girls" power anthem and managed to get themselves some pretty great press about the product in the process. It's actually kind of brilliant when you think about it.

A more recent example, which I'm sure we've all seen, is this Fortnite ad that parodies this Apple ad based on the George Orwell book 1984. If not, take a quick look because this is - ahem - EPIC. First, let's consider that Apple and Epic Games, the company that owns Fortnite, are already embroiled in a legal battle over Apple's practice of taking a percentage of app store sales as a commission. The Fortnite ad calls out Apple for, what Epic Games considers, monopolistic business practices. So this ad is basically adding water to an ocean of legal battles.

Interestingly though, Apple and Chiat/Day, the agency that produced Apple's 1984 ad, were sent a cease and desist by The George Orwell Estate and the TV rights holder as they considered it copyright infringement. So, Apple didn't license the concept and, perhaps, argued at the time that it was "Fair Use." The Fortnite ad definitely steered clear of promoting any Apple products but it could be argued they disparaged the company by making "Big Brother" a rotten apple and called them out for, what they consider, bad business practices. (As a side note, you can make supported, comparative claims in advertising but you can never disparage another brand).

I would be curious to know if Epic Games licensed the concept from The Orwell Estate and the TV rights holder. Additionally, can Apple even sue Epic for "copyright infringement" if their original commercial was called out for the same?? I, along with many others, will definitely be watching closely how this unfolds.  

Just remember, there is no legal protected fair use or parody in advertising. And don't rely on this argument if you use someone else's copyrighted materials to sell something.

Facebook Shop
By: Jade Spadoni

“Ooo I need that!” *adds to cart* - Me everyday  

As if we needed an easier way to shop online, Facebook has officially started to roll out their latest feature the Facebook Shop Tab (in addition to shops and Instagram Checkout to all US businesses). According to Facebook, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift to online shopping is at an all time high with an estimated 85% increase of people worldwide now shopping online. With the addition of Facebook Shop, the app is hoping to make online shopping more accessible to consumers and empower businesses. From your favorite local mom and pop shop to larger brands, Facebook is giving businesses the opportunity to utilize the Facebook app to connect with their customers and grow their business. 

So, how will entrepreneurs and side hustlers alike be able to build an online shopping experience within the Facebook app? In typical Facebook fashion, the app is providing the tools needed for all businesses to be successful. With all of these tools (from custom design layouts to new data in Commerce Manager), everyone and anyone can build their shop on Facebook, which makes me wonder – will this be the end of Etsy? But I will save that for another time (and if Facebook does end up buying Etsy, don’t forget you heard it here first!). 

With Facebook Shop’s launch you may suddenly start to miss the in-store experience. I mean, who doesn’t love when the retail worker asks if you are looking for something in particular or calling to your friend from across the aisle to ask if something is cute (to which they inevitably scrunch their nose and say “no”)? Of course, Facebook has thought of everything (thanks Mark!) and have included a messaging component to Facebook Shop where you can have real time conversations with the business and also share with family and friends to ask their opinion before making a purchase. 

So I must ask, are you ready for this new age of online shopping? 

The Lift of the Political Taboo
By: Natalie Chaney

For decades brands have avoided polarizing/hot button issues such as politics and religion for fear of alienating any portion of their demographic. However, as with most things in 2020,  brands are throwing that precedence out the window this election season. A global pandemic, growing civil unrest, and polarizing politics are challenging brands to use their voices, and several have begun answering the call. 

Reddit launched “Up the Vote”, a compelling and incredibly authentic campaign comparing Reddit votes to election votes. Both the MLB and NBA have committed to turning Stadiums and Arenas into polling stations. Even conservative middle class brands, such as Old Navy, are joining in as Old Navy announces they will be paying their employees to work the polls on election day. 

This change was spearheaded by the Civic Alliance, a bipartisan group of businesses encouraging civic participation. The group consists of over 153 companies, including the three mentioned above, in addition to other notable brands such as Uber, Amazon, Twitter, Starbucks, and more. We look forward to seeing the progress made towards their goal of achieving 80% voter turnout by 2028. 

TL;DR  - go vote.

Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong wrote the song "Wake Me Up When September Ends" about his father, who died of cancer on September 1, 1982. Billie upset and crying after his dad's funeral locked himself in his room. When his mother knocked on the door, Billie simply said, "Wake me up when September ends".