Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Kellogg’s toucan is not a wren – the battle of logos

Back in July this year, Maya Archaeology Initiative (MAI) received a letter from Kellogg’s lawyers asserting that MAI was using a logo (toucan) which infringes on its trade mark, a character called Sam – a colourful toucan. Therefore, the letter asked [did they ask? The majority of this letter are more of a ‘demand, don’t you think?’] MIA to stop using the logo that infringes its character, games and other promotional goods/services.

The signs and the goods/services:
Kelloggs’ logo: Toucan Sam is a cartoon character Kellogg introduced in 1963 that identifies its Froot Loops breakfast cereal. The toucan's beak is multicolored reflecting the multiple hues of the "O's" in the cereal.

MAI’s logo: toucan is based upon a realistic toucan endemic to Mesoamerica. The toucan in its logo is a more realistic bird, shown in front of a Maya pyramid. MAI is a non-profit project run by the World Free Press Institute (WFPI) that oversees the defence of the Mayan culture and the biosphere in Guatemala. The image appears on T-shirts, refrigerator magnets, coffee mugs and baseball hats given as premiums to the group's donors.

Playing dirty?
MAI was browsing the Kellogg’s web page went it found out that in the game ‘Adventure series’ the kids were playing in a Mayan setting and the only character of colour was the villain, an evil witchdoctor who cackles and steals.

Clay Haswell, chairman and co-founder of WFPI noted that "Suddenly, [this fight] became a little bit more important to us than protecting our trade mark". Explaining this comment he said he was sensitive to what he feels is a misrepresentation of Mayan culture through stereotypes. After this encounter, Kellogg responded promptly and took the game off of its website.


The battle continue...
For more information see here, here and here.

I just remember this passage: "The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch." (Shakespeare's Richard III).

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