Seriously guys, keep those lawyers out of here! Just tell them somebody in accounting is using the wrong Pantone color in the logo again.
File this under the same business category as “New Coke” only bigger, dumber, but (possibly) less expensive, though the true cost is to be determined. You probably didn’t know, but Mattel and Hasbro have been stewing recently about a MySpace application call Scrabulous that allows members of the site to play a game that is suspiciously (ok, it’s the same) like Scrabble™. Unable to stand themselves any longer, they’ve ordered the game squashed like a G-R-A-P-E (17 points).
Now, obviously, this game is a violation of the Scrabble™ trademark, so why shouldn’t they put their collective foot down? Well, let’s consider that there were over 600,000 registered users playing this little wonder. And let’s consider what percentage of half a million likely rekindled some sort of fondness for a game they hadn’t played in years, and maybe — just maybe — picked up a new physical for home. And let’s consider how virulent this new online world we live in can be. What were their options? I couldn’t write a better list than Matt Dickman, so I’ll just repeat it here:
If I were in Mattel’s marketing department here is what my train of thinking would be here:
1. Somebody please kick the legal department out of the room. Thanks, now let’s continue.
2. Wow! These guys built an awesome application around our brand
3. We NEED to talk to them and buy this application ASAP
4. We NEED to hire these guys (or at least retain them) to do updates and possibly roll this out to other networks (Bebo, MySpace, etc.)
5. Seriously guys, keep those lawyers out of here! Just tell them somebody in accounting is using the wrong Pantone color in the logo again.
6. If we can’t buy it, we at least need to sponsor/co-present it as *the* official Scrabble game on Facebook
7. If none of those options work we need to congratulate those guys publicly for their efforts and encourage people to join in
8. I wonder why we didn’t think of this.
Matt goes on to make some recommendations about how you should be applying this lesson learned to your own situation. Read it and take heed.