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January 2, 2013

Eat Less Kale? ConAgra Foods Spoofs Bo Muller-Moore's Iconic T-Shirt

First Chick-fil-A, now ConAgra Foods. In the advertisement above, a fad dieter finds her salvation in Healthy Choice's new Greek Frozen Yogurt. "I used to hide a secret stash of kale in there," says a tearful actress, indicating her yoga mat. "Now I use it to do yoga."

But what is played merely for laughs isn't so funny to Bo Muller-Moore. The artist behind the "Eat More Kale" logo is none too pleased about the kale cleanser's T-shirt, which sports the very words that made him famous. Muller-Moore had nothing to do with the shirt, which uses a different font from his iconic bubble letters.

"I guess, ultimately, I’m really confused as to how it is that a company like that is protected from using what’s obviously a knockoff of my shirt," he says. "They’re using my idea to generate some profits, and legally there’s nothing I can do because it falls under parody. According to my lawyer and everyone else I talked to, parody is protected."

Muller-Moore suspects that the commercial's creators only made one or two shirts for the ad, as regular Google searches haven't turned up similar copycats. "I suspect they knew exactly what they were doing legally," he wagers.

The artist is currently working with eBay to remove an exact rip-off of his design for sale on the website.

Meanwhile, Muller-Moore is still awaiting a final decision from the reviewing trademark attorney who will decide whether his "Eat More Kale" is an infringement against Chick-fil-A's "Eat Mor Chikin" slogan. The Vermonter points out that thanks to the fast food giant's misspelling of the word "more," the two only have the word "eat" in common. "I feel in some way that I would have been better off if [my design] had been a parody," says Muller-Moore. "Except I never heard of them before [the legal trouble]."

Still, the mustachioed, top-hatted Vermont icon insists on seeing the brighter side of his troubles. "With [the Healthy Choice] commercial, everybody that sees it and knows about me, ultimately thinks of me. It doesn't necessarily boost my sales, but I suppose that's the lemonade."

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