Tuesday, December 20, 2005

On books and Hershey's bars

My upcoming romance novel features a heroine who is addicted to Hershey's bars, so when I saw this article mentioned in today's Publisher's Lunch, I clicked right over to ABC News to read it. It seems the Hershey's people are seeking a court injunction to prevent the release of a biography, Hershey: Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire and Utopian Dreams, which is due out next month. It's the cover they don't like, because it's designed like a giant Hershey's bar, which they say violates their trademark.

"Hershey does not object to the content of defendant's book, or to the mere use of the word 'Hershey' in the title of the book," according to the lawsuit that was made public Monday. "However, defendant has designed and adopted a dust jacket for the book which extensively uses Hershey's well-known marks and trade dress beyond any manner permissible under law."

Attorneys for Simon & Schuster, the book's publisher, fired back, insisting that

...the Hershey symbols on the cover are "artistically relevant" to the book's subject and not expressly misleading.

"Trademark laws are designed to protect the public from likelihood of confusion, not to protect the monopolistic goals of a company that for whatever reason appears not to like the fact that a book has been published about its founder without its imprimatur," the publisher said.

This bit from Publisher's Lunch made me grin:

Publisher David Rosenthal says in a statement, "The book's jacket in no way infringes on Hershey trademarks. No one will confuse it with a candy bar and attempt to bite it or melt it..."

Perhaps that's true, Dave, but you missed a chance to instantly quash the other side's objections by pointing out that a book that looks like a big Hershey's bar is certain to make people buy Hershey's bars. Think about it: You're sitting on a bus and the guy across the aisle from you is reading this book, holding it in a way that makes the cover clearly visible to you. If you're at all like 99% of the women and quite a few of the men that I know, you'll leap off the bus, probably even before it stops moving, and make a mad dash to the nearest candy counter.

Ladies, am I right?


Anonymous said...

hey I like the candy bar. but I won't jump of a bus to get one :)
he did you get the snowball I sent you?

Anonymous said...

forgot the y in hey sorry:D

Dr. Lisa said...


These folks are crazy.

Camy Tang said...

Absolutely good point. Why the heck are they so upset? The book itself (even without the cover) is going to sell more candy. With the cover, it's free advertising. That's completely stupid.

That's like them complaining that your heroine likes Hershey's bars. Of course, you can always change it to Ghirardelli's or something and send business THEIR way instead.


Bonnie Calhoun said...

Typical male behavior. They just don't realize what suggestive reasoning does to a woman's chocolate factor...pity on their part!

Men are clueless!

Mirtika said...

I'm sure someone will actually try to eat the book. Hershey's should just suggest some creative mutual promotion,like supplying the author with a contest giveaway for free chocolate. I would, if it was MY chocolate. :)

Brenda, you better take those M&M's off your blog. ; )

Mir--who tried the peanut butter M&M's today, and they wuz yummers.

Dr. Lisa said...

Love those peanut butter M&Ms.

I think there should be more books and blogging about candy. Caaandy.

Brenda Coulter said...

Yeah, who called this one? ;-) Saw this just now over at The Book Blog:

It's an interesting case that publishers will be watching closely, because of its potential impact on future book covers. Hershey might want to reconsider its objections, though. Just looking at that cover makes us want to buy a Hershey bar and some holiday Hershey's kisses for stocking stuffers.


Mir, I've often wondered if the Outback Steakhouse people might come after me because of this blog's title. Are you telling me I should worry about the M&Ms folks, too? After all the free advertising I've done for them?

Dr. Lisa said...

Oh, if ever need an expert witness at your M&M trial, you can call me. I have, indeed, been driven to buy M&Ms because of your header. No kidding. :-). They are a great inducement to writing, M&Ms are.