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Poking fun at a Giant...

Posted by on Dec. 14, 2009 at 7:01 PM
  • 8 Replies

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2009/12/north_face_sues_teenaged_south.html

North Face Sues Teenaged South Butt Creator

By Frank James

An entrepreneurial college student created what he claims is a parody of the popular The North Face brand called The South Butt.

Now he's getting an extracurricular education in corporate hardball. The huge apparel maker whose identity the young man mocks has sued the 18-year old for what it claims is trademark infringement.

North Face logo.

Jimmy Winkelmann, a University of Missouri at Columbia freshman, created his brand which clearly borrows heavily from the apparel giant as a send up of all the people who mindlessly wear North Face gear because everyone else they know wears it.

So South Butt has a logo that's resembles North Face's, except flipped upside down. It sells tee shirts and a jacket. And it has twisted the North Face marketing slogan of "Never stop exploring" into "Never stop relaxing."

South Butt.

Winkelmann reported on the lawsuit on his website Monday:

Hey everybody -
News came Friday afternoon that The North Face has decided to take us to court! Now, more than ever, we need your support as we prepare for the upcoming events. We're stocked up and ready for the Holiday rush that is about to take place because of this news -- please get your Christmas orders in ASAP !
Because of this, we've launched a new Facebook app that allows you see the difference between a face and a butt. It's a ton of fun and can be a bit addicting! Here is the link: The South Butt Challenge on Facebook.
We're up against a $7 billion dollar powerhouse (The North Face, owned by VF Corporation), but we feel confident with our idea and our friends, family, and supporters!

Winkelmann, who clearly has an impish sense of humor, also has a press release with a line you don't usually see in a company's press release:

Sample Media Kits, Including Product Samples, Available Upon E-Mail Request to albertswatkins@kwmwlaw.com [Subject to Jimmy's Mom's Availability to Package Same]

The Associated Press reports that North Face had no comment and its law firm didn't return phone calls.

While Winkelmann is drawing some expressions of support on his website, not all the commenters on his site side with him.

A commenter named KEH, wrote (with misspellings):

sorry, I am usually for the little guy and have found some of these lawsuites stupid. Heard about this on the radio.
I have to agree with The North Face.. you are leveraging their creative work and image with some humor. But you are not a parody, you are a competator in thier industry.

categories: Business

Here's a link for another take on the story: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/teens-south-butt-apparel-irks-north-face/story?id=8712101

Do you think North Face should sue him?


by on Dec. 14, 2009 at 7:01 PM
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Replies (1-8):
stormcris
by Christy on Dec. 14, 2009 at 7:03 PM

 I think North Face knows that a lawsuit will kill a small business and that it is just being a Scrooge.

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tericared
by on Dec. 14, 2009 at 7:06 PM

He should have come with something a little more original... 

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Mandipants
by on Dec. 14, 2009 at 7:39 PM

I just have to admire him for making fun of it!

eaglemama2
by Silver Member on Dec. 14, 2009 at 7:49 PM

suing an 18 year old student? seriously?  LOL - I am sure they expect to win big

eye rolling


ddbz
by Silver Member on Dec. 14, 2009 at 10:16 PM

I'm now a fan of the South Butt and I hope to get a shirt! The North Face used to actually be a gear company that people bought stuff from because it was good quality, not because of all this pretentious upper-crust crap.  

Talee
by Gold Member on Dec. 14, 2009 at 10:21 PM


Quoting Mandipants:

I just have to admire him for making fun of it!

Ummm me too...and look how their panties get in such a HUGE WAD....good grief.

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Talee
by Gold Member on Dec. 14, 2009 at 10:22 PM


Quoting ddbz:

I'm now a fan of the South Butt and I hope to get a shirt! The North Face used to actually be a gear company that people bought stuff from because it was good quality, not because of all this pretentious upper-crust crap.  


Ditto...

What if little "nothings" like us sent letters to them and told them to calm themselves down...LOL

 

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Mergath
by Silver Member on Dec. 14, 2009 at 11:03 PM

They do have the legal right to sue and will probably win, but as to whether they should or not, I don't see how it'll benefit them any.  It isn't as if this tiny business is going to steal any of the market share.  The North Face will just make themselves look like assholes if they go through with it.

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