June 26, 2008
Naked Cowboy Protects His Brand Naming
Mars Inc. has good news and bad news today regarding New York's Naked Cowboy and his suit against the candy maker.
The bad news is that the Naked Cowboy can go ahead with his suit against Mars Inc. for "using his likeness, persona, and image for commercial purposes without his written permission and by falsely suggesting that he endorses M&M candy."
Looking at pictures of the Naked Cowboy and his corresponding blue M&M side-by-side, I think it looks like there may be a problem.
The Naked Cowboy wants $100 million in punitive damages, plus attorney's fees. He'll probably have to settle for just $4 million and live with the fact that 67% of People magazine readers think the Blue M&M is sexier than he is.
The good news for Mars is that quality candy is selling better than ever in the United States despite the speculation that we are in a recession, and Mars is responsible for a large share of that. At least one web site ranks their Snickers bar as the number one most popular candy bar.
Regardless, a $100 million law suit for trademark infringement is really nothing to snicker at, but the publicity alone is certainly worth more than $4 million for the company.
What's that saying? "Any publicity is good publicity."
Although they had better watch out for Nestlé, who is trying to take serious market share of the "premium-chocolate" sector that the Candy Snob blog says is typically "more resilient when consumer spending is in general slumps."
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