Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kellogs - away with the birds

Multi-million-dollar, international corporation, Kellogs (of cereal fame) have decided to take to the courts over their bird, Toucan Sam:.
Kellogs claim, in their copyright suit, that a non-profit company based in California is ripping off their logo. That non-profit is the Maya Archaeology Initiative, whose sole purpose is to defend Mayan culture. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but the two birds do not look the same. Both abstracted in their own way, they differ immensely in style, one cartoon, one stylistically Mayan, with a Mayan pyramid in the background for emphasis. Featuring different colours, proportions, and context, the mind boggles as to how and why Kellogs think they will win. Copyright infringement is taken very seriously by big multinationals and rightly so. Confusing customers can lead to lost profits, but in this case, Kellogs is out of their mind. The two logos' only similarity is their basis on the Toucan. Does that mean that Kellogs owns the image rights to the Toucan.... will they start suing other companies...?
Call me biased
No, wait, Guinness is also a mega multinational, no chance of them not using the Toucan. So instead Kellogs goes after the little guy, the one that is not out to make millions but preserve the cultural legacy of the Mayan people. In any case, the two logos don't even operate in the same industries, so how would a customer get confused? Why would the non-profits use of the logo detract from Kellogs' area of operations?

The simple answer is Kellogs has made a major PR blunder while the Maya Archaeology Initiative will hopefully have gained some much needed free press.

 Read more here and here. Also, http://mayaarchaeology.org/


  1. Good story and thanks for posting the logos side by side so readers can see for themselves.