By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
A diamond is forever. Got milk? Just do it. Eat mor chikin!
There are a few choice ad phrases that rise to the top and become part of the common consciousness. Headline writers and jokesters come up with variations. Sometimes, the companies or causes that started the ditty get whiplashed with a new version. Got Milk morphed into a series of headlines about the dangers of Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone, used to make cows produce more milk, in the early 2000s. Got rBGH?
Now a variation on “Eat mor chikin!” is in the news, courtesy of Bo Muller-Moore, a T-shirt shop owner in Vermont, whose “Eat More Kale” logos became so popular, he named his business Eat More Kale and devoted himself to creating more customized shirts with the logo.
The phrase is obviously derivative of the Eat Mor Chikin campaign promoted by Chik-a-fila for more than 15 years. But the audience for Eat More Kale appears to share little affinity for fast food. Muller-Moore says his clients have embraced this catchphrase as promoting healthy, local and sustainable eating.
In this story, kale is the new granola, and meat is beside the point.
But that hasn’t stopped Atlanta-based Chik-a-fila from pecking at Muller-Moore about his co-opting of their concept.
The questions seem to be: When does a phrase advance into the common vernacular? And how long can Chik-a-fila claim these words as a proprietary, especially when we’re not talking about the exact same words? (Their slogan was launched in 1995.)
And the answers are, lawyers will hammer this one out.
In the meantime, Change.org, is petitioning the fast food giant to leave the little guy alone. The Change petition, which has more than 12,000 signers, notes:
…Bo Muller-Moore, has used the EAT MORE KALE logo in his t-shirt designs for more than 10 years, and he recently applied for a federal trademark on his business name. A federal trademark would block other artists from copying his design (which has happened in the past) and protect the livelihood he’s worked so hard to build. But if Chick-fil-A, a multi-million dollar fast food company, has its way, Muller-Moore won’t be able to protect his business. The Corporate Goliath has threatened to block EAT MORE KALE’s trademark attempt and shut the business down.
Hey Chik-a-fila, Got Compassion?
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