There is really no way to express the following without sounding upset. I’m not upset at all – Rather disappointed with the way things have been unfolding.
It used to be that athletes would make money to advertise products. Hell, Michael Jordan made hundreds of millions of dollars advertising for Nike – And in return, Nike made billions. A fair trade I think.
Regretfully, the common and ethical business practice of compensating models in the fitness industry has turned.
Lately, I’ve been asked by numerous models if my images could be used as part of a supplement company’s advertising. In short, the company wants to put their name on our image. I always ask – What are they paying? And you would be astounded at how many models are surprised by this!
Let me elaborate…
I’ve sold a single image for over $40,000.00 with limited rights and usage. Yes, this was for a major corporation with an international advertising campaign, but still, the size and amount are relative. A smaller company with smaller advertising revenues will usually only advertise in certain medias – Thus reducing the costs of usage. I’ve also sold images to companies for advertising for as low as $500.00.
The fitness industry (Smaller supplement companies especially) is too aware of models being naive of this. They often rely on the fact models just want to feel special by giving away words like “sponsorships” for which they pay no money. It’s kind of sad actually.
Imagine this conversation; NIKE, “Hey Michael Jordan, can we use your images to advertise our shoes? You’d get lots of exposure and you could call yourself a “Sponsored Athlete” Think about it, all the other players would be so impressed…. oh, and it doesn’t pay but you would get free shoes.”
I feel for the models, especially since I try to educate them on this and still, they hold their ground and make me feel like I’M the bad guy. So, I’ve decided to put this in a blog to see if I can help educate and add credibility to a market that is going the wrong way. If we don’t stop this, no one will EVER get paid in this industry. Sadly, I kind of called it in my prior post about the decline of the fitness industry. (For the record, MUSCLETECH always paid for images). You can read that post here. For fitness competitors or fitness models, here’s a separate article to shed some light on the industry.
When in doubt, ask yourself, “Is the company making money off me, establishing credibility or using me to market their product?” If the answer to this is yes, then you are providing a valuable service, one that deserves payment.
If we all act in the same fashion, the industry may have no choice but to be honourable and not take advantage of it’s own people.