Octavia Spencer in Legal Dispute with Sensa over a Twitter Hashtag

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Orit, the company that renders Spencer’s services, executed a sponsorship agreement with Sensa in August 2012, after the actress had tried out the product and lost five pounds.

Over the next several months, Spencer says she lived up to the agreement, making good-faith efforts to participate in the marketing and sales of the company’s products. During this time, her activities were said to have been praised by Sensa. The actress says she went “above and beyond” her obligations by allowing the weight loss company, despite her reluctance, to use before and after photographs and have advertisements placed in tabloids.

But in April 2013, Sensa executives acknowledged that the ad campaign was not living up to expectations, according to the complaint. Spencer’s agent and publicist were brought in and one of the brand agency execs allegedly stated that “Sensa would probably walk away [from] this if it could.” “Sensa admitted that Spencer’s social media posts generally received less likes than the brand saw with their normal posts,” says the lawsuit. “Although the reactions to

Spencer’s posts were all positive, Sensa felt that her use of ‘#spon’ at the end of her tweets, which is a requirement under the Agreement and by the FTC, did not benefit her performance.” The lawsuit goes on to cite research that was presented during a brand meeting in May. “Sensa stated that its research showed that Spencer was only relevant to its target audience when her awareness in the media was high,” continues the complaint. “Sensa further admitted that its research indicated that while some consumers recognized Spencer’s weight loss success, many did not recognize who she was or that she had lost weight.” In other words, being an Oscar winner doesn’t guarantee fame.

The parties attempted to push things forward with new ideas, but Spencer’s legal team suspects that the company was beginning to “manufacture a way out of the agreement.” Her contract had mandatory weigh-ins to determine if she maintained the 20-pound weight loss that was required. “On information and belief, the Spencer parties allege that Sensa wanted Spencer to fail the weigh-in so it could terminate the Agreement,” says the lawsuit. But the actress had a successful weigh-in, allegedly causing the company to look for another way to cancel her deal. That’s when payments stopped and the controversy over the sponsored tweets came up.

(Photo: Retna)

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