Carolyn Giles, a student at New York’s Columbia University, is livid after finding her face on an Australian dating website sponsored by the Swedish carmaker under the headline, ‘Spend a night with Swedish model of your choice!’
Giles, who is represented by world renowned modeling agency Ford, appeared in an ad for Volvo in 2007, on a contract that let the carmaker use her images for that campaign.
However, she later found out that her face had been used on subsequent campaigns worldwide, as well as on an Australian dating service called Fast Impressions, sponsored by Volvo.
According to Giles, she has neither been paid nor consulted as to where her photos have been used.
“I was paid $2,000 unlimited usage for Volvo for their S40 model,” Giles told American broadcaster ABC News.
On the dating site Giles’s face was plastered next to a ‘Swedish model’ headline, urging customers to ‘rev up’ their love life and ‘book a test drive now, and who knows, this could be the start of a beautiful relationship (not just with Volvo)’, according to the reports.
This was particularly vexing for Giles, who feels taken advantage of and made into looking like “an escort girl”.
Giles’s lawyer, David Jaroslawicz, told British Daily Mail that the picture, in that particular setting, looked just like an old yellow pages ad for an escort service.
“To use it in what’s literally a sleazy and inappropriate way is just wrong,’” he told the paper.
According to ABC News, Volvo has responded that Giles signed a release granting Volvo the rights for “unlimited print and Internet placements worldwide for an unlimited time.”
However, Giles disagrees with the Swedish car company.
“The product is Volvo S40. I didn’t say that Volvo could use my image for anything Volvo for the rest of my life, “ she told ABC News.
According to media reports citing the lawsuit, Giles is also suing the Hertz rental car company for using her picture in their brochures without paying her, as well as her model agency for not looking better after her interests.