Celebrities Embrace Ownership in Product Spokesperson Deals

October 19, 2012 – In The News
Daily Journal

More commonly today, A-list celebrities are not only appearing in television or print advertisements to endorse the products they believe in, but they’re investing in the brands as well. In the past companies have paid a flat fee to endorse a product, while now entertainment lawyers say the deals have evolved into complex arrangements with added responsibilities for the star such as social media outreach, and various forms of compensations such as revenue splits, stocks and stock options.

Darrell D. Miller attributes much of this culture shift to the creative entrepreneurial spirit of hip-hop artists from the 1990s and 2000s who built their own empires outside of mainstream.

“They were not perceived as general market players, because everyone thought hip-hop was inner city. But Jay-Z, with his clothing line, and 50 Cent investing in Vitaminwater set the stage and shook the perception of artists leveraging their celebrity for ownership behind their business.”

Miller represented Percy Miller, known more commonly as Master P, in an early equity deal with then startup Mp3.com and is currently working with rapper Ludacris on promoting Conjure Cognac, a product backed by investors from Norway and France.