Music Business

Celebrity endorsement gone wrong: Asa regrets brand affiliation with GT Bank


In 2009, Asa entered into a business marriage with Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust (GT) Bank that produced a commercial song titled ‘The Place to be.’ The award-winning singer and songwriter wrote, recorded and performed the song encouraging the public to bank with GT. Fast-forward to March 2017. Last week, a social media user on twitter commended Asa for the song.

“I wish that song would just go away already,” tweeted the singer in response. “(N)ot sure I’d like to be associated with the bank tbh.” 

Why would Asa have regrets about associating with such a powerful bank? A bank that is known for supporting Nigeria, Africa and frankly the western fashion and entertainment industries?

One possible scenario and inference, based on Asa’s tweet, is that whatever licensing agreement was drafted, on her behalf, appeared to not have foreseen a misalignment in brand values, in the future. As a result, Asa is now stuck with hearing her endorsement, long-term, for a brand she no longer supports, and it appears there is not much she can do about it. Further, depending on what she signed, GT Bank can stop her from making such public comments that put the brand in a negative light.

Artists, as I say often,  be careful who you jump in bed with. In addition, when you agree to endorse a product or service of a brand, it is your job to do your research and ensure the brand values of that company aligns with yours both short and long term. To make that happen, you should consult with an entertainment lawyer and have your lawyer draft agreements that foresee issues like these, and accordingly limits the scope of use to account for potential incompatibility in the future.

If you don’t, you could be stuck in an unhappy business relationship like Asa.

-Ms. Uduak

Listen to my throwback interview with Asa’s Manager Janet Nwose to understand Asa’s brand values

Watch GT Bank executive highlight the brand’s values.

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Africa Music Law™

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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