By Glynis Farrell
N'Genuity Enterprises claims the commercial, with "cows urging viewers to eat chicken instead of beef," ruined its multimillion-dollar distribution deal for Bo Jackson Signature Foods.
N'Genuity says it was formed in 2001, as "a Native American-owned business formed and incorporated by Valerie Littlechief and Jackson."
N'Genuity, based in Arizona, claims to be the 11th largest supplier of food products to the U.S. military worldwide.
In exchange for "the exclusive use of his name and likeness to promote food products, as well as his good-faith efforts to promote those products," N'Genuity says, Jackson got company stock, a seat on the board of directors, and money.
N'Genuity claims that "by 2007, Jackson-branded products were poised for explosive growth."
But in 2008, Jackson appeared in the ad for Chick-Fil-A, "a fast food chain that competes with hamburger chains for consumers. Its ad campaign then, as now, featured cows urging viewers to eat chicken instead of beef. ... The ad states that when Jackson was not 'hitting linebackers or baseballs,' would 'run over and eat chicken.' The ad also states that he 'Never took up burgers'," according to the complaint.
N'Genuity claims that "Within six months of this commercial, interest in 'Bo Burgers' evaporated. Jackson's endorsement of Chick-Fil-A and disparagement of hamburgers baffled N'Genuity's existing and prospective customers. The advertisement confused consumers, infringed N'Genuity's trademarks using his name, and diluted the value of his image."