The indie rockers in the band OK Go started their collective musical journey in 1998. Over the past few decades, they’ve steadily developed a name as a dynamic band that creates music that’s embraced by music lovers of all stripes. This is proven by the way their songs go viral after popping up in commercials for EA Sports, Morton Salt and State Farm. They have appeal and they know how to keep themselves relevant. To say that they don’t want to be forever mistaken as your favorite cereal is an understatement, yet that seems to be exactly what Post Consumer Brands would like to see.
We have been sued by Post Foods. Have you ever had your name stolen by a multi-billion-dollar food processing Goliath? pic.twitter.com/IpTkai1ubD
— OK Go (@okgo) January 31, 2023
Why Is Post Trying To Claim the OK Go Identity?
To be fair, that’s probably not how the folks over at Post would characterize this episode. Perhaps somebody in the marketing department team over at Post had just listened to ‘The Writing’s on the Wall’ or ‘White Knuckles’ before tossing around ideas for the as-yet-unnamed new product. (The product, incidentally, is for portable, single-serve cereal bowls filled with your favorite Post cereals.)
Perhaps the message that they wanted to communicate just brushed up against those songs that were still echoing and perhaps, at that moment, inspiration struck in the form of the team adopting the name OK GO! without consciously considering the band. In that case, it makes for an unhappy accident, particularly since the band’s name has been trademarked since 2008. Also to be fair, corporations are known at least as much for their grow-at-all-costs mentality as they are for their altruism.
You might also consider that the marketing team at work for Post Consumer Brands, the megacorporation that had net sales of nearly $2 billion in 2020 very deftly considered that the concept behind this new product coincided exactly with the name of a band that has both Top 40 and indie credibility and who has courted corporate culture many times before over its long, successful history. Could this marketing team have just willfully co-opted the band’s name, calculating that any copyright infringement issues can be handled with efficacy with some of those $2 billion in annual earnings? It wouldn’t be the first time a corporation treated a smaller entity shabbily.
One might posit that a huge corporation with a big think tank that is always looking for improved brand recognition would knowingly take something that wasn’t rightfully its own – if it believed that it could get away with it. Even if it didn’t, what’s a little lawsuit when balanced against huge sales profits driven by a well-known name?
— Robert Kirkman (@RobertKirkman) February 2, 2023
What Should OK Go Do Now?
OK Go has been dropping thoughtful musical experiences on American consumers for 25 years. They are a proven commodity and a solvent entity in an oversaturated market that sees a thousand failures for every success. To have maintained it for so long speaks to the band’s growth mindset. While Post will likely maintain a ‘likelihood of confusion’ stance, OK Go should fight, backed by their small indie label, just as David fought Goliath. The band could even set up a GoFundMe because it’s fair to say that some folks are rightly fed up with the take-take-take corporate culture that is the norm in America. They might be willing to contribute to help even the playing field.