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Drake and 21 Savage settle Vogue’s fake cover lawsuit

By | Published on Monday 20 February 2023

Drake and 21 Savage fake Vogue cover

Drake and 21 Savage last week settled the lawsuit filed against them by Vogue over the marketing campaign for their collaborative album ‘Her Loss’.

That campaign involved the creation and distribution of an assortment of fake media coverage, including a faked Vogue cover featuring Drake and 21 Savage, and even a short run of a mocked up edition of the fashion magazine containing that cover and some other spoof content.

Whereas the other spoofed media didn’t seem too bothered by the ‘Her Loss’ promo, Vogue owner Condé Nast was not happy at all.

It quickly sent out some cease and desist letters to the musicians and their communications agency Hiltzik Strategies, and when that didn’t result in any ceasing and desisting, the media firm went to court accusing Drake, 21 Savage and Hiltzik of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising, among other things.

That legal action sought a court order – initially a temporary restraining order – that would prohibit any further distribution of the fake Vogue cover, plus – of course – lots of lovely damages.

Quickly granting the temporary restraining order, the judge concluded that “Condé Nast has a likelihood of success on its claims for federal and common law trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition, false endorsement, dilution, false advertising, and violation of [New York General Business Law]”.

The musicians and their marketing team confirmed they’d adhere to that order at the time, telling the court: “To avoid unnecessary cost and expense, defendants, pending the outcome of this litigation, but without conceding any liability with respect to the claims asserted by Condé Nast in this action, and without conceding any wrongdoing on their part, consent to the preliminary injunction sought by Condé Nast”.

According to Reuters, Condé Nast General Counsel Will Bowes confirmed in a memo to Vogue staff last week that a settlement had now been reached over the wider trademark, unfair competition and false advertising action.

The lawyer wrote “it was clear to us that Drake and 21 Savage leveraged Vogue’s reputation for their own commercial purposes and, in the process, confused audiences who trust Vogue as the authoritative voice on fashion and culture”.

Although he didn’t get into the specifics of the settlement deal, he confirmed that it involved a monetary payment that will “bolster our ongoing creative output, including Vogue editorial”. There’s also a permanent commitment from Drake et al to never again use the Vogue brand without permission.