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Tyrrells unwittingly uses image of renowned Welsh poet sparking picture row

Tyrrells has been criticised for unwittingly using an image of renowned Welsh poet R.S. Thomas to promote its £25,000 prize giveaway.

Tyrrells was "humbled" it hadn't recognised the poet sooner

Dr Jeremy Noel-Tod noticed the image of the late Thomas being used to promote the tongue-in-cheek competition, which invites customers to suggest captions for old photographs, and promptly complained the gourmet snack company via social media.

Speaking to the press, Noel-Tod said Tyrrells brand positioning as "Handcooked English Crisps" would have been enough to argue the fiercely Welsh nationalist, who would have been "deeply contemptuous of the whole business".

He commented: "My reaction was a mixture of real amusement at the absurdity of it and real anger that a respected poet should suffer such an undignified posthumous fate for the sake of selling overpriced fried potatoes.

"It does seem to me to raise a real ethical question about the casual appropriation of images of the supposedly anonymous dead for jocular commercial purposes."

A Tyrrells spokesperson said that the images was chosen "solely for the look" and that the brand was "humbled we didn't recognised R.S. Thomas sooner".

The complaint follows Rihanna's legal battle with Topshop after it used her image on items of clothing without her permission, and tattoo artist, Richard Elsby, finding out his photo featured on a bestselling t-shirt for worldwide retailer H&M.

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Gillian West

Gillian West is The Drum’s social media manager and works to ensure The Drum’s content reaches followers across platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram in an engaging, relevant and timely manner. Based in Glasgow, she has been actively involved in building The Drum’s Creative Works brand for over three years now and has interviewed major creative figures including Rankin, Peter Souter, Rosie Arnold, Bob Greenberg and Vicki Maguire. During her time at The Drum she has attended events such as Cannes Lions, the Edinburgh International TV Festival, Art Director’s Club Europe, D&AD and more.

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