Sensitive Material

by Ben on August 31, 2010

Recently, Pepsi Co. sent Nat a “cease and desist” order claiming his bottle looks a little too much like their Izze bottles (Pepsi owns Izze). In my continuing effort, as Nat’s official company blogger, to reveal the soft underbelly of the “start-up” process, as well as to expose Nat in all his foibles and missteps, I decided to write a blog about it. You should know, it’s been tough going for a Noonetime blogger these days. It’s not so much the lack of product to write about –the Noonetime beverage hasn’t exactly featured prominently in my blogs– but more the lack of momentum with our branding. Nat has decided to put Noonetime on hold until he can get some revenue rolling with his other start-up business, a distribution company he’s dubbed “Green Shoots” (http://www.greenshootsdistribution.com/).

The idea for Green Shoots is to create an eventual distribution channel for Noonetime while helping ‘incubate’ some other young brands. Noonetime, once it’s ready, will join the others on Nat’s own Green Shoots trucks. The money made from distributing these other drinks will, in part, help launch Noonetime.

Here are some news links if you’re interested:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/beverage-industry-veteran-utilizes-big-brand-experience-to-create-green-shoots-distribution-an-incubator-for-independent-brands-97054309.html

http://www.bevnet.com/news/2010/6-25-2010-Sambazon_Odwalla_Green

In short, I picked the wrong Nat venture to be the official blogger for.  Green Shoots is rolling along, picking up new brands, riding around in cool trucks while Noonetime is getting “cease and desist” orders while sitting on the back burner. How Pepsi Co. even found it I’ll never know.

So, for a struggling blogger, particularly one whose ‘loyalties’ run a bit thin, the ‘cease and desist’ was a gift from the blog Gods (called “Globs”). I snatched it up, and, for the first time in months, felt optimistic about the blog. I wrote like the wind. I laughed, I cried. I finished it, marveled at it’s beauty, then sent it to Nat, because, as tone-deaf as I am to legal matters, I knew there were jokes the Pepsi Co. lawyers could, without the right light-hearted approach, take wrongly. Nat sent it to his lawyers (yes, he has lawyers. No product, but lawyers) and that’s when it all unravelled.

Here’s Nat’s email to the lawyers (I found it at the bottom of an email he forwarded back to me):

“I am sure the answer will be no, but my friend that writes the blog for Noonetime put the following together and wants to have a blessing to post.  At the very least hopefully you are entertained.”

Here’s the email Nat forwarded me back (from the lawyer):

“The answer is no, but it was entertaining.”

It was nice to know Nat at least tried his best for me.

I decided then to email my lawyer dad and brother and ask them if they thought the blog could be salvaged in any way. I asked if there were specific sentences that could be cut or blocked out, if something could be added, maybe small print I could put at the bottom, maybe I could say a few nice things about the delicious taste of Izze beverages. They just said no. My dad went further and pointed out some jokes that fell flat for him.

That’s when I realized that being a lawyer is pretty easy. And fun.

So, I decided to give it a try and cook up a little counter argument for Nat and his lawyers to use against Pepsi Co.  I opted against using words because I’ve found that they often trip lawyers up and just create more problems than they’re worth.

I sent it to Nat only to then find out that Nat had already caved. He had changed the graphics on the bottles. Thus, Nat had found yet another way to stymie my blogging efforts. (you can see the new design on the home page.)

I’ll get to work on the next blog. Nat will get to work on finding new ways to screw me.

Here was my brilliant counter-argument, in pictures:




{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Tracy Pizzo Frey September 1, 2010 at 8:29 pm

This. Is. Awesome.

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