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Monday, December 5, 2011

Finger lickin' kale? You deserve some kale today?

Pathetic. Chick-fil-A has sent a Vermont artist a cease-and-desist order for selling t-shirts lettered with "Eat More Kale."

The artist's shirt satirizes Chick-fil-A's slogan, "Eat mor chikin," which is written by cows in the company's marketing material. The artist, Bo Muller-Moore has decided to fight back, according to the New York Times:

“This is corporate bullying,” Mr. Muller-Moore said. His lawyer, Daniel Richardson, sent Chick-fil-A a letter in November, contesting its claim that the slogan “is likely to cause confusion of the public and dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A’s intellectual property.”

Chick-fil-A does not have any stores in Vermont. The closest one is in Nashua, N.H., about 120 miles from Montpelier, where Mr. Muller-Moore, an Alabama native, has lived for years. He began making the shirts in 2000, at the suggestion of a local farmer. The few dozen printed at first have swollen into thousands of orders filled every year, he said, but he still works out of the overflowing studio above his garage, buying his art supplies nearby.

In a time when people even "brand" themselves, I suppose this is not surprising. I remember when I first started working in journalism that I got a pissed-off letter from Coca Cola's legal department when I used the word "Coke" without indicating it was trademarked in parentheses. This struck me as dumb but I found that I received the same letter wherever I was working, even in Elberton once. Eventually, I followed an early boss' solution — always to substitute "Pepsi" or "RC" for the endangered Coke name. I have no idea if they still enforce a rule that discourages free advertising.

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