Now here’s a thrilling story: Goliath bullies David, David slings a stone that stuns Goliath… then Goliath apologizes and gives David some money!
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“David” is Jennifer Laycock of Columbus, Ohio. “Goliath” is the National Pork Board, the front group for major pork processors and producers. This outfit is famous for its advertising slogan: “Pork: The Other White Meat.”
Jennifer is a work-at-home mom running two businesses while caring for her two kiddos. But she’s also an enthusiastic promoter of breast-feeding and a strong supporter of the Mothers Milk Bank of Ohio. On the side, she runs a sharp, clever website called the Lactivist. Through it, she has raised money for the Milk Bank by, among other things, selling a T-shirt with this slogan: “Breast: The Other White Milk.”
This play on words prompted Goliath to try to club Jennifer with a bullying cease-and-desist letter from the Pork Board’s hotshot corporate law firm. The white-milk slogan, exclaimed the lawyers, “dilutes,” “tarnishes,” and “damages” the Pork Board’s white-meat slogan. They demanded she terminate and destroy all displays of her slogan or face the wrath of the law.
But David did not cower. “I don’t have a lot of tolerance for bullies,” Jennifer wrote on her website, inviting bloggers and social activists to respond to the Pork Board. And, boy, did they! Goliath was stunned with a barrage of emails, and the board quickly said to Jennifer: “How do we make this stop?”
Only three days after getting the nasty lawyer letter, she received an apology from the board’s CEO, and a follow-up letter pledged that the executives and staff of the Pork Board would be sending contributions to the Mothers Milk Bank. Also, Goliath agreed that Jennifer could use a slightly revised slogan: “Breast: The Original White Milk.”
This is Jim Hightower saying… Way to go Jennifer! Way to go activists! And way to go to the Pork Board for doing the right thing.
Laycock, Jennifer. Email interview. February 7, 2007.
“Re: Infringement if Trademark Rights by ‘The Lactivist” webstore on CafePress.com,” Faegre & Benson, January 30, 2007.
Murphy, Steve. Letter to Jennifer Laycock, February 2, 2007.
“Re: “National Pork Board/ ‘The Lactivist” trademark dispute” Faegre & Benson, February 3, 2007.