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Chick-fil-A's bullying is a boon for 'Eat More Kale' T-shirt maker
Chick-fil-A is trying to get a Vermont T-shirt maker to stop using the phrase 'Eat More Kale.' But support for the small business owner from traditional and social media is impressive. Will it be enough to get the restaurant to back down?
If you haven’t heard the David and Goliath story yet about Vermont folk artist Bo Muller-Moore being told by fast-food giant Chick-fil-A to cease and desist with his “Eat More Kale” slogan T-shirts, let me bring you up to speed.
Muller-Moore recently applied to trademark his phrase “Eat More Kale.” Chick-fil-A feels it’s too similar to the company's already trademarked “Eat Mor Chickn” phrase. In early October, they sent Muller-Moore a cease and desist letter, telling him to stop using the phrase “Eat More Kale” and to turn over the website eatmorekale.com to them.
They’ve told Muller-Moore that his silkscreened T-shirt slogan urging people to eat more of their leafy greens is “likely to cause confusion of the public and dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A's intellectual property and diminishes its value.”
The story has been reported in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The New York Times and on Anderson Cooper’s sharp-witted Ridculist segment on CNN, and it has gotten quite a bit of attention throughout traditional media. But, what has really impressed me has been the way social media has made a difference in the spreading of Muller-Moore’s story.
On Twitter, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin is endorsing @TeamKale to help spread the word. He also held a press conference to tell Chick-fil-A to stop bullying an entrepreneur who is helping to create jobs — one at a time — in Vermont. (Interestingly, Chick-fil-A doesn’t have a single restaurant in Vermont.)
Also on Twitter, the hash tag #eatmorekale has become prominent with people not only tweeting their support by using the hashtag, but also giving tips on how to prepare kale. Perhaps, the publicity this is causing might literally get people to eat more kale or start eating it in the first place.
On Facebook, the Eat More Kale page has encouraging comments from its 879 (and growing) fans. However, Chick-fil-A’s Facebook page is littered with comments like this, “Dear Chick-fil-A, I love your waffle fries as much as, and maybe more than, the next guy, but if you continue harassing this dude making the "eat more kale" shirts, I will have to a) buy his kale shirt and b) no longer patronize your restaurants. Matter of fact, I think I'm buying a shirt regardless. As soon as he can meet the demand he has now.”
Change.org has created an online petition that has already received close to 20,000 of the 25,000 signatures it needs. The petition asks Chick-fil-A to “please quit blocking EATMOREKALE.COM’s federal trademark application.”
All of this attention has been a boon for Muller-Moore’s business. His website says that due to high demand, he cannot fill any more orders before Christmas. Whether it’s enough to make Chick-fil-A back down or not has yet to be determined.
It will be interesting to see what happens next, and even more interesting see if Muller-Moore does get the slogan “Eat More Kale” trademarked, what he will do to protect that trademark.
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