Copy Cats & Big Dogs

A small time book has shot to the 48thspot on Amazon.com’s best-selling list. And, it’s mostly due to its cover.

I know, I know. Never judge a book this way. But there is controversy around this cover, and so people are curious. Here’s why…

The book is written by Patrick Wensink, a Kentucky-based author, and is called Broken Piano for President. The cover art resembles (to put it lightly) the Jack Daniel’s logo, just enough to warrant a letter from the Tennessee whiskey giant’s legal team. Southern hospitality included.

It appears that Jack Daniel’s lawyer, Christy Susman, is a marketing genius. Well, she’s either a marketing genius, or just genuinely nice. Either way, Susman’s now-viral cease and desist letter written to Wensink is casting a bright light on the Jack Daniel’s brand, and giving Wensink’s book a free marketing boost at the same time.

Jack Daniel’s went so far as to offer Wensink some money to help in changing the design, which he refused, saying: “We’re proudly independent and don’t need any of that sweet corporate booze money to redo the cover.” He should leave his marketing to Susman; cause them there words sound like fightin’ words to us.

For Wensink, this is a rare case of trademark infringement done right… by accident. Had it been a similar logo of any other image appearing on his book cover, Wensink may have faced a grueling lawsuit – but Jack Daniels chose the road less traveled, and it’s gotten people talking. Is it so rare that a giant corporation, known for it’s longstanding branding and classic logo, shows consideration for the little guy? Judging by the skyrocketing success of this book, it must be the case.

Do you think companies should protect their brands with an iron fist or a velvet glove? Which is more effective?

Also, check out the letter below!

 

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