How Not to Get Sued By Michael Jordan, or Any Celeb, Over a Simple Congrats Ad

What brands can learn from one grocery chain's cautionary tale

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Can you get sued for wishing a celebrity well?

It might seem innocuous, but using an ad to congratulate an athlete or another big name can earn brands their very own personal thank-you—a subpoena.

Last month, a jury decided that Safeway—the parent company of now-defunct supermarket chain Dominick's—must pay $8.9 million to Jordan after using the basketball star's name in an ad placed in Sports Illustrated.

The ad ran in a 2009 Sports Illustrated commemorative issue marking Jordan's induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

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