Well, it’s certainly one way to pay for a wedding. Kim Kardashian believes an Old Navy commercial featuring a model who looks a lot like her has damaged her image — and her pocketbook. So she’s suing the pants off the retailer for using her cachet to promote its brand.
The lawsuit, which the Kardashian legal team will probably approach from an appropriation of name or likeness angle, alleges that Old Navy found someone who looks almost exactly like Kardashian to fool the public into thinking that she was working with them — and to a small degree, it seems to have worked. In the months since the commercial debuted, a variety of news sources have commented that the model in the ads looks, well, just like Kardashian. (Notably, her backup dancers look just like the guys from The Black Eyed Peas.)
The “Super C-U-T-E” ad itself is a dayglo version of Kardashian’s glamorous reality TV existence — the model croons that “This is real life/ I’m not posing for a magazine,” and then goes on about her day, getting a root canal and being followed around by paparazzi. Old Navy’s lawyers could respond to the suit by saying, “Hey, we were just having a little fun with a ubiquitous topical reference.” But because the brand is using a semblance of Kardashian’s image to sell things, we don’t think it’ll qualify for the parody/satire defense that protects, say, the blogger behind WTForever21 from making fun of Forever21′s oft-heinous clothing.
And yes, it is sort of like poking a sleeping bear with a sharp stick. Because Kardashian estimates the commercial has done $15 million to $20 million worth of damage to her image-based business, and we’re guessing she’ll sue the company for a whole lot more than that. Take a look at the ad below, and let us know if you think she’s got a case.