National Public Radio ran a story about a group of people in Potsdam
, NY that has held an annual bake-off for the last ten years as a fund raiser for a local food pantry. Apparently the use of the term "bake-off" got the corporate Dough Boy irritated:
This year, food manufacturing giant General Mills contacted organizers and told them it owns the word, and only the company can use it.
How incredibly stupid does corporate management have to be? Had they contacted the people and said something to the effect of, "It's our trademark and we have to defend it to keep it at all, but we applaud your efforts and, if you can credit the trademark to us, we'd be happy to let you use it?" But, no, the iron fist came down and so did a story on NPR. Want to guess how long it will take for this to hit all other media? Want to guess the PR value of being seen as opposing food pantries and charitable work? How many boycotts on local levels will start? Could a competitor ever afford to cause this much trouble and get a competitive advantage? This is such a stupid blunder that it brings into question whether management has such tin ears that they cannot be trusted to do what is in the real best interest of the company and the shareholders.
Labels: PR, trademark