If you are going to compete in the crowded chocolate cereal market you need the will to take on the big guns. Arguably, it was this kind of thinking that prompted Post Foods to advertise their Cocoa Pebbles with a cartoon showing “Bam-Bam” from The Flintstones taking on and soundly defeating a blond moustachioed wrestler called “Hulk Boulder”. This, it would appear, has hurt the real Hulk’s feelings.
Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, has taken Post Foods to court for misappropriating his image in the cereal commercial. In addition to blond hair, wrestler’s build and handlebar moustache, the Hulk has complained that “Hulk Boulder” was his stage name at the early stages of his career. The lawsuit emphasises the unflattering representation of Hulk Boulder in the commercial: “[he] is shown humiliated and cracked into pieces with broken teeth…”.
As Julien du Vergier discussed in his post earlier this year, the law in several states of the USA, unlike Australia, provides a Right to Publicity. An individual is granted the enforceable right to control the commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness or other unequivocal aspects of one’s identity. The Hulk would be arguing that Post Foods’ unauthorised exploitation of his image for their commercial gain and to his commercial detriment (he is marketing his own line of Hulkster foodstuffs) warrants legal protection and retribution.