Chick-fil-A Sues Vermont Artist, Invokes Streisand Effect

Chick-fil-A’s legal team must be bored and have nothing better to do. At least nothing better than pursuing legal action against an artist for using a generic part of their tagline.

Muller-Moore, an artist who sells t-shirts through his website is being bullied by Chic-Fil-A to stop. Why? Because his t-shirts say “eat more kale” and Chick-fil-A’s tagline is “”Eat Mor Chikin.”

Naturally, all this does is invoke the Streisand Effect where in this case the brand’s attempt to suppress an artist’s freedom is causing the story to be far more widely publicized:

Chick-fil-A lawyers claim Muller-Moore’s effort to promote use of his “eat more kale” message “is likely to cause confusion of the public and dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A’s intellectual property and diminishes its value.”

Of course, this is absurd. Trademark law shouldn’t apply here because it’s a totally different business and there’s little chance of customer confusion. Would anyone really confuse the two of these?

But aside from this it’s just silly and accomplishes nothing except for taking the reputation of Chick-fil-A further down a notch. In a connected world, this type of legal bullying against someone completely disparate from a company’s industry is far more damaging to a brand than any good that could come out of it. This isn’t protecting Chick-fil-A. It is shameful and shows a complete lack of corporate conscience and goodwill.

It is extremely reminiscent of the story of Pillsbury threatening a small business owner last year. Note because the web is referential, we continue to bring up past examples of brands doing this. What these companies don’t realize is in a digital world their reputation management issues are not going to go away. Rather, the negative effect on their brand is cumulative.