File this under more crazy lawsuits in the news. Actually, this one makes sense to me. I have always been a fan of creating an intellectual property.
If you have ever been in Times Square you are no stranger to the Naked Cowboy. 10 years ago the image of this guy in tighty whities (not hanky pankies) might have been a shock. But these days New Yorkers just pass him by as if he were the typical NY street sight that he is.
In this era of creating a brand, Robert Burck has trademarked the Naked Cowboy signature look (underwear, white guitar and cowboy hat) and has made several television and movie appearances in costume, including for a televised audition on the American Idol reality TV program, the lawsuit said.
I am pretty sure this guy is a genius.
It seems that our naked boy is suing Mars, Inc., the makers of M&Ms and their ad agency for creating a billboard with a blue M&M dressed in his outfit.
Now, I have been in the PR/marketing and promotion biz for way more years than I care to admit. For the life of me I don’t understand how these guys thought they could get away with this. Alright, so maybe it is a stretch to know that this guy actually trademarked his look. But he has been around way too long and has been too recognizable an icon on the streets of our great city for an agency to not do their due diligence and confirm that this would be cool. (oh right, the agency is in Ohio – no offense to my Ohio friends). They are claiming that the campaign is a parody and they have a first amendment right to use the image. A bit of a stretch, no?
This crazy cowboy is going so far as to say he does not endorse this product and made mention of Type 2 Diabetes. (I work on a Type 2 Diabetes drug, maybe we should look into signing him as our celeb spokesperson!). Another bit of a stretch. Would he not except large sums of money to endorse the product if offered it? I mean really, are we to believe that a guy that has made a living for the last 10 years wearing underwear in Times Square in all kinds of weather is driven by some lofty set of morals?
This all gets me thinking. Perhaps I should trademark my look. What? You think a black t-shirt and jeans is not available for trademark?