• Sophie Monk says bonus headphone campaign costing her money
• Or should Bachelorette help sell newspapers that help sell her TV show?
A dispute has broken out between the new hottest property on Australian TV – The Bachelorette’s Sophie Monk – and News Corp Australia over the use of her image to promote a subscription offer in News Corp newspapers that offers a bonus pair of noise-cancelling headphones when customers purchase a discounted 12-month subscription.
Monk’s manager, Titus Day from 6 Degrees Management, told Mediaweek the TV deal has proven to be a huge win for Monk and has made the already high-profile celebrity an even hotter property. “We are now getting offers from production companies and networks and endorsement deals flying through the door.”
So wouldn’t some cross promotion in News Corp metro newspapers be a good thing? “The timing of this is awful,” said Day, referring to the recent ads featuring Monk wearing a pair of headphones in an ad promoting the subscription package.
The ads featured in last weekend’s Sunday Telegraph several times, including a full page which is shown here.
Day and his client are not happy to have people think she could have done an endorsement deal with the maker of the headphones, Sennheiser. “The fact that News Corp and Sennheiser are using her in the photo indicates that a deal to endorse headphones would be likely. It would be a good fit which is why they have done it. I have done plenty of deals with people like Bose in the past and a headphone deal was on our radar. It will be an impossibility now.”
Day said News Corp hasn’t paid Monk any money to be featured in its promotion nor was she asked permission prior.
“We would definitely be prepared to negotiate a fee with News and Sennheiser. She would need to be paid a full fee, which would represent what she would get from another headphone company.” Day indicated that amount would be in six figures.
After raising the issue with News Corp Australia, Day said he and Monk had received a letter indicating there was no problem with what News Corp did. “They said the promotion doesn’t suggest any connection between Sennheiser and Sophie. We completely disagree with that.”
Day said Monk has no problem with her relationship editorially with News Corp.
Sennheiser has told Day it knew nothing about Monk’s involvement. “It would seem unusual for them not to know about full-page ads running across News Corp newspapers [featuring their product] and to not be aware of it. I find that extraordinary.”
Where to next? It seems the lawyers are going to get a workout. Day yesterday received what he said looked like a “carefully drafted legal response”. He told Mediaweek: “We are sending a legal letter today. There is no way they should be able to get away with that. It is a flagrant breach of the law and a disregard of Sophie’s rights. It is extraordinary they would do that.”
Day has managed Monk twice in recent years, most recently working with her again earlier this year after Monk was previously managed by Nick Fordham. Day negotiated Monk’s The Bachelorette deal with Network Ten.
Other personalities featured in the promotion include Malcolm Turnbull and Donald Trump. It is believed neither has approached News Corp Australia to complain yet. “They don’t do endorsements for a living, and Sophie does,” said Day.