MediaWorks has taken legal steps against online men's brand NZ Blokes, sending the editors of the site a cease-and-desist letter in regard to the promotion of an event called NZ Crate Day on the NZ Blokes Facebook page.
MediaWorks alleges that the promotion of the event steps too close to the National Crate Day campaign developed by The Rock FM.
The letter from MediaWorks stipulates NZ Blokes recently commenced marketing activities in relation to the NZ Crate Day and that this constitutes an infringement given the similarity between the names and the fact that both events were scheduled to occur on 5 December.
The letter goes on to say "MediaWorks considers the promotion of NZ Crate Day as a deliberate attempt to trade on the significant reputation and goodwill that MediaWorks/The Rock enjoys in its National Crate Day branding", and that the public is likely to be misled into believing that NZ Crate Day is affiliated to National Crate Day.
In keeping with the irreverent tone of its website, the NZ Blokes editorial team responded with a post laden with sarcasm:
"We here at NZ Blokes thought we’d have a ‘get together’ and have a few beers with our Facebook Fans. This week we received a ‘cease and desist’ letter from the lawyers at Mediaworks. Apparently they own ‘National Crate Day’?
NZ Blokes had proudly exceeded all expectations for our event by getting a record 7 confirmations (four of them were us).
We were eagerly tallying up the profits we were going to make but then we remembered that this was a free event, a fact that somehow got past our crack marketing team.
We had wanted to use the term 'Meetup' but Google Meetups thought that we posed a significant threat and asserted that they owned the act of “meeting people in your local community who share your interests”.
Next we tried to use the term ‘Night Out’ but found that this term is closely associated with the terms: outside, celebrating and having fun all of which we found were trademarked.
Disclaimer: the term ‘Fun’ referenced above is not associated or meant to depict MediaWorks in any way shape or form and any resemblance MediaWorks has in relation to having fun is entirely fictitious."
- Read the full post here.
Since receiving the legal letter, NZ Blokes has responded by changing the name of the event to 'First Day of Summer NZ'.
Asked whether there was any ongoing animosity with the The Rock, NZ Blokes editor Jason Anderson said this wasn't the case.
"Nah no beef with the rock, it was just a fun idea to put together an event on Facebook (stress not real world) as a bit of an online thing to look forward to really. It's almost flattering that big ol' MediaWorks got that upset about little old us. It makes us feel like we're really starting to make it to the big time if we're ruffling feathers of that size. To be honest, we see the fact that agencies and media organisations are keeping an eye on us is great. It just means we are ahead of the pack and we're doing something right."
And, as indicated by a recent Facebook post, The Rock has also moved on from the transgression.
Here's the full cease-and-desist letter from MediaWorks: