Underdog is here! That was one of my favorite cartoons as a kid—the caped, slightly goofy cartoon dog, changing from a “humble and lovable Shoeshine Boy” into a superhero who saves sweet Polly Purebred from the likes of the evil Simon Bar Sinister. In the cartoon, Underdog always wins. Good triumphs over evil. Right beats might.
Fast-forward to today, in a little town in Vermont, where a humble and lovable country boy cranks out t-shirts one at a time to make a living for his family. His name is Bo Muller-Moore and his favorite shirt says “Eat More Kale” in a hand-drawn font; he decides to make that the name of his business. It’s an idyllic scene. [Cue up the sinister music.] The corporate bully, Chick-fil-A, enters with a cease-and-desist order, claiming that Bo is infringing on its copyright because it has an ad campaign that features cows holding signs that say “Eat mor chikin.” They claim they have a right to everything he’s got, and they’ll ruin him.
Guys like Dan Cathey, who owns Chick-fil-A, profess to be all about God and American values. Kicking the crap out of a guy, simply because you can, used to be considered bad form, on both counts. He’s using his considerable corporate war chest to grind poor Bo into the dirt. When is the last time anybody confused kale, or t-shirts, with fast-food chicken?
And people line up for those chicken sandwiches, either unaware or uncaring that some of the profits from those sandwiches go to pay for lawyers to destroy a guy’s livelihood, a guy that is not cutting into Chick-fil-A’s business one whit. Some people say that people like me should shut up or I might lose business myself. They don’t consider Bo’s problem to be their problem. Well, I do.
You see, like Mr. Cathey, I’m a person of faith. But my faith forbids me to be a bully, to lie and steal and kick a guy when he’s down. It’s a lie that Eat More Kale is hurting Chick-fil-A’s business, and they know it. They are stealing Bo’s ability to feed his family, and they don’t care. They are picking a fight with someone who is in no position to defend himself. They might just win, too.
To learn more about Bo’s defense from the Chick-fil-A lawyers, check out this video. And if you’d like to help him out, send him a little kale. Let the company’s PR flacks know what you think of their tactics: Mark Baldwin, Chick-fil-A, Corporate Public Relations, 404-684-8598,
If any of my customers thinks that my sticking up for the underdog is too radical and wants to yank business from me, so be it. I stand with Bo. You can, too. Let’s show ’em that the underdog can still win.