Update: As of today, there are reports that Ferrero has been in contact with Sarah Russo and has worked out an arrangement by which Nutella Day will be reinstated with the company's blessing. The company is blaming the cease & desist on over-zealous lawyers as opposed to any public backlash. This may satisfy some people, while others will note that aggressive intellectual property laws and protection lead to this kind of collateral damage all the time.
Ferrero, the makers of Nutella, a hazelnut/chocolate spread that enjoys a love from people that I'll never understand (disclaimer: I hate chocolate), sure doesn't like anyone to use anything remotely like its name ever. You may not recall that it pushed back against the P2P network Gnutella a decade ago over their name being too similar. While you could argue that might be at least somewhat understandable, how about when the company went legal on a smoothie shop for selling a shake that used its product and had the daring gall to, you know, tell people what was in it? Well, perhaps you think that at least Ferrero was targeting a commercial enterprise, even if doing so resulted in one less shop buying Nutella. I mean, it isn't like the company was going after ordinary customers who liked its product, right?
Well, ChurchHatesTucker writes in to inform us that Ferrero is doing exactly that, because f#$@ the fans, damn it. See, there is apparently something called World Nutella Day, which is ironically on my birthday (God, I hate Nutella...), where one website encourages everyone on the planet to cook something with Nutella. This, naturally, requires people to buy Nutella. Or it did, rather, until Ferrero threatened the creator of World Nutella Day with a cease and desist, forcing her to shut down the site completely. Via World Nutella Day founder, Sara Rosso:
On May 25, 2013, I'll be darkening the World Nutella Day site, nutelladay.com, and all social media presence (Facebook, Twitter), in compliance with a cease-and-desist I received from lawyers representing Ferrero, SpA (makers of Nutella). The cease-and-desist letter was a bit of a surprise and a disappointment, as over the years I've had contact and positive experiences with several employees of Ferrero, SpA., and with their public relations and brand strategy consultants, and I've always tried to collaborate and work together in the spirit and goodwill of a fan-run celebration of a spread I (to this day) still eat.
Yup, you read that correctly. The makers of Nutella darkened a website purely
designed to promote its product, even after directly working with Rosso for the last seven years. It's almost as if Ferrero doesn't want anyone to eat Nutella, with which I happen to whole-heartedly agree. No attempt to work out some kind of an arrangement, no even-handed license of the trademark, no humanity whatsoever. It's just, "Hey, thanks for being a fan, now shut it all down because the lawyers flipped out and somehow think you're harming us."
Honestly, the stunning part to me is how genteel Rosso appears to be about all this.
I've spent hundreds of hours interacting with you, the fans, collecting and sharing your contributions, updating the World Nutella Day website with more than 700 recipes which were painstakingly gathered from bloggers sending me their posts and by scouring the internet for the best Nutella recipes, Tweeting and sharing on Facebook your favorite sayings, stories, and links about Nutella, and encouraging everyone to try it just once! Thanks for letting me be a part of that – it was truly a labor of love by a fan and something I did as a fan, in my (very little) spare time, and I have a full-time job I love. I hope that February 5th stays alive in your hearts and on your spoons, and hopefully it's arrivederci (see you soon) and not addio (goodbye).
It's hard to imagine someone sounding so sweet over the company of which she's a fan pulling such a brash and damnable move. I'd be livid, not hoping to start the site back up once Ferrero had a stupidectomy. I might even be encouraging everyone within earshot not to buy from a company that would pull this kind of stunt. Then again, perhaps I'm not as sweet as Russo because I'm not filled with Nutella spread. Who knows, but I'm sure there are many former customers of Nutella today.