Bobblehead for Phillips'-Brand Laxatives Leads to Lawsuit for Bayer
Phoebe Jonas, a former spokesmodel for Bayer, has filed a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company for its continued use of her likeness in advertising used to promote a number of products. Known as the “Phillips Lady,” Jonas starred in commercials promoting several of the brand’s laxative products, including Phillips’, Colon Health Probiotics, Milk of Magnesia, laxative caplets and fiber gummies.
The lawsuit, which was filed by lawyer Steven Mintz in Manhattan Supreme Court, seeks $500,000 from Bayer for the reason that, according to the filing, the company “unilaterally continued to use the commercials on its website without plaintiff's consent or permission through April 20, 2018.”
Most interesting for us, however, is the plaintiff’s assertion that Bayer started using a bobblehead in her likeness in commercials starting in January 2018, in order to “avoid renegotiating the right to continue to use plaintiff’s likeness with plaintiff and continued to use her likeness (without consent).”
According to the lawsuit, when Jonas complained to Bayer, images of her were removed from the company’s website. However, advertisements featuring the bobblehead in question remain on Phillips’ website, continuing to promote the same products Jonas promoted during her time as the “Phillips Lady.”
Chris Loder, a Bayer spokesman, denied the claims in a statement. “This preposterous complaint is without merit” and “we intend to fight these baseless claims,” he said.
It’s uncertain as to whether Bayer actually intended for the bobblehead to replace its outgoing spokeswoman, just as it is unclear whether the company intended to create, or has created, additional promotional bobbleheads of the character for distribution.
What is clear, however, is that pharmaceutical companies have done some shady, questionable and even criminal things with promotional products in the past, so it wouldn’t surprise us if there was a warehouse full of Phoebe Jonas bobblehead clones out there waiting to be released to the world.
We’ll keep you updated on this story as more details come to light. In the meantime, check out our piece on the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, which is opening soon in Milwaukee.