Kenyan international footballer Victor Wanyama has sued oil manufacturer Menengai Oil Refineries for compensation over use of his image in a commercial advertisement.
In a case filed at the High Court, Wanyama, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur in England, is accusing Menengai of publishing his image alongside the company’s trademarked logo on June 21, two days before Kenya’s national team Harambee Stars played their first match at the African Cup of Nations (Afcon).
The footballer wants the court to declare that the action by Menengai contravened his image and personality rights.
He is also seeking a declaration that the image published by Menengai constitutes a marketing advertisement and that he is entitled to damages as a result.
Wanyama says he has worked hard to build his brand and reputation over the past 12 years of his footballer career and as a result he is the brand ambassador for several companies such as Addidas, Multichoice and Safaricom #ticker:SCOM.
“I logged onto my twitter account and confirmed that the company on their official twitter account was indeed using my image in a commercial advertisement,” says Wanyama.
The said image appeared on Facebook and Twitter, and were accompanied by the message “if you believe it, you can do it. We at Menengai should like to wish our boys all the best in the #AfricaCupOfNations. From #TheHeartOfGoodLiving. We believe in you."
In the suit papers, Wanyama says the wording in the caption together with the use of his image created the impression that he was the official brand ambassador of oil maker.
He says the context of the publication, the images and the eager public keen to watch the matches, were understood to mean that he was endorsing Menengai as its commercial ambassador, adding that the image used did not contain the entire Kenyan football team but a few select individuals.
“I did not consent to the use of my image in the post published by Menengai. I am greatly disturbed by the continued use of the image as the company has failed to delete the offending post from its twitter account despite demand to do so,” the footballer says in a sworn affidavit.