Ford Slaps Brand Enthusiasts, Returns Love With Legal Punch
While brands certainly don't want people using their products, logos and other related imagery to create products of their, own, the hammer that Ford legal dropped on the Black Mustang Club seems a bit heavy handed. Recently the club created a calendar which contained images of club members' cars photographed by the members themselves. Ford didn't take kindly to this and asked CafePress, the service the group had chosen to print the calendars, to kill the project claiming all the images in the calendar are the property of Ford...including the Black Mustang Club logo (this has been clarified in the update below. in actuality, it was CafePress which, based on past Ford trademark dealings, initially refused to print the calendar).
It's understandable that a brand would and should do everything it can to protect itself from any kind of potential negative effect but to attack a group of people who, clearly, love the product in question simply for showing their love of that product is, well, idiotic and more harmful to the brand had they done nothing at all.
BMC Owner Lisa commented to group members, "I'm sorry, but at this point we will not be producing the 2008 BMC Calendar, featuring our 2007 Members of the Month, solely due to Ford Motor Company's claim that they own all rights to the photos you take of your car. I hope to resolve this soon, and be able to provide the calendar and other BMC merchandise that you guys want and deserve!"
We hope this can be resolved as well. It's one thing to protect your brand from being harmfully tarnished. It's another to shoot down the very people who love your product the most.Wake up and smell the CGM, Ford.
UPDATE: The issue has been resolved. Ford Car Communication's Whitney Drake tells us "Mustang (and other car owners) can take pictures of their cars and make calendars and sell them to whomever they like. They can't however use Ford logos in the calendar." She further clarifies, "The club (Black Mustang Club) and cafe press (or another printer) now has permission to print the calendar. Apparently, CafePress misunderstood the intent of an earlier communication from Ford regarding the use of trademarks on other products they sold when it told Black Mustang Club it would not print its calendars.