A model who featured in the Fairlife Milk ad campaign that went huge last month after Coca-Cola announced it was to extend its new milk brand nationwide in the US says she feels “deceived, used and frustrated” after claiming the brand never sought her permission to use her image in the ads.
The ads, featuring an array of pin-up girls in sexy positions who appeared to be wearing nothing but splashes of milk, incurred the wrath of several media publications and was criticised by consumers on social media. The Guardian’s Women’s Blog deemed the campaign “unoriginal and tediously sexist,” while the Daily Dot described it as “appallingly gross.”
Here is the Fairlife ad everyone has been talking about over the past few days:
Brooke Nichole Fleming, a model from New York, told Business Insider the wave of “negative and harsh” comments the campaign has received could even affect possible future work opportunities.
Fleming says that last year she understood she had taken part in a photography workshop, where a skilled photographer hires models for a low fee in order to teach students their skills and techniques. She says she was only paid a rate of around $US250 by the photography studio Aurum Light, and although she accepts she signed a “standard modelling release,” she understood she was only agreeing that the photographer, Jarsoslav Wieczorkiewicz, could use the photos for himself.
She added: “There was absolutely no mention of those photos being used for anything down the line. We were told this was for a workshop and [the photographer] was using the photos for a pinup calendar. I think the rate I got paid was only $US250 for a shoot that took over 10 hours to finish. I did it for the art purposes. I loved the photographer’s work.”
“Fairlife has not been in touch with me or any other models … I only know about it [through] friends pointing out that I’m on billboards and ads nationwide.
“The way this ad went global could have been a much larger paycheck. So you can imagine how deceived, used and frustrated we must feel. Along with riding this wave out of negative and harsh comments that may affect possible work opportunities.”
Fleming forwarded Business Insider an email conversation between Aurum Light’s Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz, in which he attached the image of the “Milky Pin Ups” calendar. He added: “Once again thank you for all your hard work and I wish you all the best for the future!” Wieczorkiewicz’s work takes photography of real splashing liquids and melds it with photos of models to create the impression that the models are wearing the liquids:
Lan Bui, the producer of the shoot, refutes Nichole’s claims. He told Business Insider Nicole Fleming did give her permission for the image to be used for commercial purposes when she signed her model release form, of which she was also given a copy.
He adds: “As with every shoot, I make it abundantly clear our intentions for the shoot and that our pay rate is to cover all uses of the images for any use in the future. I’ve been shooting and producing commercial photo and video shoots for years and I know images get taken, used for their intended purpose, and then forgotten about. Every once in a while some images get interest from someone to be used for other reasons, like this case, and that’s why I always have our releases cover future possible uses.”
As for for the ad itself, it appears the images may well have reached their sell-by date. In a statement on its website, Fairlife wrote that while the milky pin-ups may have been “eye-catching,” that campaign was retired in June and the brand will be taking “a totally new approach.”
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