The Takedown Letter of Love

The Takedown Letter of Love

Posted on April 11 by Mark Blevis And Tod Maffin
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When author Patrick Wensink wrote the satirical novel Broken Piano for President, he wasn’t expecting any controversy over its cover design. 

The cover, inspired by old-time saloon-era art, also bore a striking resemblance to the label of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whisky.

Jack Daniel’s felt a legal response was necessary — and they were right. But they approached it with a human attitude which made all the difference.

“We are certainly flattered by your affection for the brand,” the letter says, “but while we can appreciate the pop culture appeal of Jack Daniel’s, we also have to be diligent to ensure that the Jack Daniel’s trademarks are used correctly. Given the brand’s popularity, it will probably come as no surprise that we come across designs like this on a regular basis. What may not be so apparent, however, is that if we allow uses like this one, we run the very real risk that our trademark will be weakened. As a fan of the brand, I’m sure that is not something you intended or would want to see happen....

“In order to resolve this matter, because you are both a Louisville ‘neighbor’ and a fan of the brand, we simply request that you change the cover design when the book is re-printed. If you would be willing to change the design sooner than that (including on the digital version), we would be willing to contribute a reasonable amount towards the costs of doing so.”

The letter went viral and for all the right reasons.

The lesson is clear — when somebody does something amazing but unofficial with your brand, you should embrace them, not threaten them.

 

Tod Maffin and Mark Blevis are co-authors of TOUCH: Five Factors for Growing and Leading a Human Organization, due for publication by Dundurn Press in October 2014.

Mark Blevis

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014
Mark Blevis photo

Mark Blevis

Mark Blevis is president of FullDuplex.ca, a firm which specializes in integrated digital communication and online reputation management. He also heads a team that researches the role of online information and interactions in shaping public opinion. He lives in Ottawa.

Tod Maffin

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014
Tod Maffin photo

Tod Maffin

Tod Maffin is president of engageQ Digital, a digital marketing firm specializing in creating human experiences for brands online. He speaks to more than forty conferences a year. He lives in Vancouver.