Brazilian soccer star Ronaldo is suing a Chinese
drug maker for a TV commercial advertisement produced without his nod.
In the ad about a lozenge produced by Guangxi Golden Throat Group, Ronaldo
giggles while showing the product to the audience. It was showed on TV,
including CCTV, from September 2003, after his visit to China with Real Madrid.
The newspaper, Youth Weekend reports,
the ad sparked criticism from the audience, who doubted if it was Ronaldo
himself. Thanks to the ad, the famous striker was put on the list of top 10 most
unpopular spokespeople in a commercial ad.
Brazilian soccer player Ronaldo in a
special suit with the Chinese characters "Golden Throat Lozenge" in a
primetime advertisement played on all local television stations, as well
as China Central Television. [yweekend.com]
Ronaldo has complained his image was illegally used for the ad, which was
produced without a contract. Two Chinese lawyers have been employed to collect
evidence and the proceeding will start next month, possibly at a news conference
However, the Chinese drug maker insisted that there was no breaking of the
law in the production of the ad.
The true story of the ad: Once Upon a Meal
The image of Ronaldo in the ad could be traced back to a meal, according to
Wang Lei, a newspaper reporter and an acquaintance of the star's representative.
star was invited to dinner by the drug maker during his stay in Beijing in 2003
with Real Madrid players. The image came from photos shot during the meal, for
which the the drug maker side paid the striker 300 thousand US dollars.
Nothing has been said, however, about the real purpose of shooting the
Harm has been done: The loss of valuable endorsement contracts
Ronaldo decided to go to court when another Chinese drug maker wanted a deal
with him with a precondition: he must terminate the contract with Guangxi Golden
He did not realize until then that he missed as many as seven chances to sign
contracts with Chinese enterprises because of the "Golden Throat" ad. Each
contract could have fetched him 3.2 million euros a year.
Misuse of a famous image: Four facts make a bad, bad ad
Four facts about the ad make it impossible for it to be one produced under
contract by Ronaldo, said his representative to news reporter Wang Lei.
1. There is no sign of "Golden Throat" on the official website of the soccer
star, which should be a term of the contract if it had ever existed.
2. The design of the ad was too awful for an international football star.
3. Except for the meal, Ronaldo hasn't shown up for any commercial activities
of the enterprise, which is illogical under a contract.
4. The image of the famous star in the ad was clearly without makeup. Usually
he would spend at least one hour dressing up before shooting an ad.
The other side of the story: No Response from "Golden Throat"
News reporters failed to contact people responsible on the "Golden Throat"
side, while Ronaldo's image is still on the front page of the drug maker's