Brands are using TikTok memes featuring celebrities like Pedro Pascal eating a sandwich to gain attention on the app. However, legal experts have warned that utilizing these memes without the celebrity’s explicit permission could pose legal issues for brands.
TikTok is filled with clips of actors like Finn Wolfhard snapping their fingers or Pedro Pascal eating a sandwich. Brands like Kit Kat, Ryanair, and FlixBus have joined the trend and posted videos featuring Pascal clips in recent weeks.
Risks for Brands
While using celebrity clips in videos is easier than ever, legal experts have warned that the risks for brands utilizing these templates are real. Celebrities have sued brands for using their identities on social media before, and violating rules around false endorsements and right of publicity laws can be a significant exposure for brands.
Navigating the Gray Area
For brand managers trying to grow their accounts on TikTok, striking the right balance of participating in user-generated trends without drawing the ire of content rights’ holders can be tricky. Companies have also come under fire for adding popular songs to videos without paying for commercial use. Using celebrity memes in videos is not the only hazard for brands looking to join TikTok trends.
While there are no specific guidelines for how brands should approach using celebrity likenesses in videos, TikTok’s community guidelines and terms of service prohibit users from using its platform to do anything illegal. Brands should be careful when using celebrity memes to avoid any legal issues.