New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Odds and Ends


July 30th, 2008

Ben & Jerry’s Fear of Lawyers Kills Video Submission

After our spirits were crushed when our little Ben & Jerry’s birthday video was banned, I decided to follow up with an email for the reason. So here is the reason they gave us:

They claim their lawyers wouldn’t approve it. I kid you not. Here is the direct quote from the email I received from their marketing department:

While we appreciated it internally (and we did), there is no way our legal team would have allowed that one to go through.

Now that would be totally nuts. Except that Totally Nuts is already in the Graveyard of dearly departed flavors, so it must be something else.

I also note that it doesn’t appear to violate any actual contest rule. (Ben-Jerrys-VideoRules.pdf) So I followed up, wanting to know, did the lawyers really look at our video?

And the answer was, apparently not. It wasn’t a lawyer that sent us into the freezer, but concerns that a lawyer might do so in the future. From email number two:

It would have had to pass by Legal in order to be considered a top ten finalist. I’ve worked here for ten years and I know it would not have passed.

Again, no rule violation. Just a concern that maybe there would be a lawyer without a sense of humor, because in a third email I was told it might have “inappropriate content.”

Now Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield sold out in 2000 to Unilever, a massive conglomerate. We don’t begrudge them the money they made from building the company and pursuing the Americone Dream. But it appears that what’s good for the goose doesn’t work for the gander, as our own dreams of fame and glory have been obliterated before our eyes.

If we were shot down by lawyers we could understand that. Sometimes it’s the lawyers’ job to be wet blankets. But the marketing department? What in the name of Cherry Garcia is going on here?

Marketing people are supposed to be the kind of folk who push the limits. Creative souls. Not fearful little bunnies, afraid of their own shadows. Let the lawyers be Vanilla. The marketing people should be Wavy Gravy mixed with Wild Maine Blueberry, willing to go the Full VerMonty served with Nutty Waffle Cone.

It’s now clear that this contest is little more than a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham. If you’re as upset at our family is you can whine, belly-ache and complain to [email protected].

And does anyone know a good ice cream lawyer?

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