August 23, 2011

Kellogg protests Maya Archaeology toucan

Group's toucan logo ruffles Kellogg's feathersTo a California foundation, its toucan bird symbol represents its attempts to preserve the Mayan culture.

To Battle Creek-based Kellogg, it looks too close to Toucan Sam on boxes of its Froot Loops.

"This is a bit like the Washington Redskins claiming trademark infringement against the National Congress of American Indians," Dr. Francisco Estrada, president of the Maya Archaeology Initiative, said in a statement Monday.

Kellogg is objecting to the Maya Archaeology Initiative's application for a trademark for its toucan logo.

"We are concerned about both consumer confusion and a dilution of our strong equity in these marks. Kellogg is also concerned by the inclusion of the Mayan imagery in the mark, given that our character is frequently depicted in that setting," wrote David Herdman, Kellogg corporate counsel, in a July 19 letter to the organization.

In its response written to Kellogg, the Maya Archaeology Initiative said its own logo uses a realistic toucan, while Kellogg's Toucan Sam is a cartoon character with colors that represent Froot Loops' food coloring.

The Maya Archaeology Initiative promotes education opportunities for Maya children, archaeological work and defense of the rainforest.

Comment:  Let's see: black pupil surrounded by white beak mouth...white on the throat. Yep, the two toucans are practically identical.

Actually, the two logos have nothing in common except using toucans. This is a typical example of a big business using its power to control the market. In this case, by a frivolous attempt to monopolize toucan logos.

For more on Native-oriented business conflicts, see Bo Jackson Ad Harms Native Company and Tulalip Tribe Protests Microsoft Codename.


Anonymous said...

Man, next they'll say that combining flour with sugar is something they invented, too.

dmarks said...

What do you expect from a company that came about as the result of a corn-pressing accident at a massive and lucrative healthcare fraud operation.

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:

Kellogg Settles "Toucan Sam" Dispute With Archaeologists

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that after several meetings over the past two months, the parties have reached a compromise: MAI will keep doing what it's doing, and Kellogg will give it $100,000.

MAI is also saying nice things about Kellogg, which a cynical person might say was part of the deal but which could also be just what both sides are saying it is, namely a realization by Kellogg that part of its marketing approach was not as culturally sensitive as it could have been (that would be the screeching Mayan witch doctor part), and a sincere attempt to address that. Kellogg removed the adventure game, and according to MAI, Kellogg "decided to come to the table and be part of the solution" in terms of helping preserve Mayan culture.