The BBC has been accused of ripping off an author with its ‘Change the Game’ campaign ahead of the British summer of women’s sport.
The TV ad campaign, developed by the BBC’s in-house agency, showcases a host of top female athletes in a bid to promote the BBC’s coverage of football, netball, tennis and cricket.
But it is one of the supporting billboards featuring sprinter Dina Asher-Smith that has sparked controversy.
The ‘Slay In Your Lane’ line used on the billboard is identical to the title of the book by Elizabeth Uviebinené and Yomi Adegoke, published in July 2018.
Co-author Adegoke levelled the accusation on Twitter, pointing out the glaring similarities between her title and the billboard.
Imagine being a white woman creating an 'eMpOwErInG WoMeNs' ad campaign for @BBCSport, and choosing to rip off the *TRADEMARKED* name of a book specifically aimed at uplifting black women (in an almost identical font 🙃) pic.twitter.com/nojQRMX1Bq
— Yomi Adegoke 🇳🇬 (@yomiadegoke) May 28, 2019
The website of UK Intellectual Property Office confirms that Adegoke trademarked the title in April 2018.
“Make no mistake: this has happened because they have a) arrogantly assumed we wouldn’t have it trademarked and b) that we would for some reason be grateful at this plagiarism disguised as a nod,” Adegoke continued on Twitter.
The BBC has released an official statement on the matter, explaining it believed the campaign was “sufficiently far removed from the goods and services covered by the trademark registration in place.”
However, Adegoke quickly fired back a rebuttal, showing screenshots to prove her trademark does in fact cover advertising, promotional and marketing services and television and radio advertising services.
The Drum reported that BBC Creative creative director James Cross accused Adegoke of “bullying” and told her “your complaint is being looked at, going after innocent individuals on social media won’t speed it up”, in a now-deleted Tweet.
Adegoke quickly promoted her book amidst the controversy, cheekily adding “We’ll need the money now lmao”.