Tonic PR was contracted by the owners of fragrance Penny Black to organise PR and advertising for the brand
Who: Vinnie Jones, Tonic PR and the "Penny Black" fragrance
When: December 2000
Tonic PR was contracted by the owners of fragrance Penny Black to organise PR and advertising for the brand. To help the campaign Tonic retained footballer turned actor Vinnie Jones and produced a Penny Black ad featuring an apparently naked Vinnie.
So far so good, but Vinnie was not impressed when he found that the advertisement had appeared in the gay magazine Attitude. Neither was Penny Black as it thought this dangerously eroded the "hard man" image of Vinnie, which was why it had agreed to use him in the first place.
So Vinnie refused to work with Tonic, Penny Black sacked Tonic, Tonic sued Penny Black for breach of contract saying PB had never stipulated where the product should be promoted, and PB counter-claimed against Tonic for the £80,000 loss they said they incurred by having to pay repeat fees to the replacement PR agency.
Why this matters:
20/20 vision is always easy after the event, and there is no knowing who if anybody in this sorry story will run out the winner in the litigation at the end of the day. How much easier it might have been, however, if these areas had been discussed and covered off in written and signed contracts for the services of Tonic and Vinnie.