OK Go, the band best known for their viral 2006 treadmill music video, have been sued by Post Foods over the right to continue using the band’s name for a newly launched line of instant cereal cups named OK Go!
According to Post’s complaint filed in Minnesota federal court on January 13th (via Billboard), the band had been threatening to sue for months and the company would be “unfairly forced to continue investing in its new OK GO! brand while under the constant threat of unfounded future litigation by defendants.”
Post is seeking a declaratory judgment ruling that the company hasn’t done anything wrong, citing its trademark application for OK Go! that was approved in 2022. According to Post, the United States Patent and Trademark Office did not find the cereal line’s name would cause confusion with OK Go’s band name.
In a statement to Billboard, OK Go said they were caught off guard by the lawsuit. “A big corporation chose to steal the name of our band to market disposable plastic cups of sugar to children. That was an unwelcome surprise, to say the least,” they said. “But then they sue US about it? Presumably, the idea is that they can just bully us out of our own name, since they have so much more money to spend on lawyers? I guess that’s often how it works, but hopefully, we’ll be the exception.”
Fellow indie rockers They Might Be Giants chimed in with a Facebook post in support of their friends, writing, “Post is suing our pals OK Go in order to appropriate OK Go’s name for their product. Perhaps you think this is wrong, or perhaps you are thinking of marketing your own brand of Nike microwave popcorn. Either way, it would be nice to shame Post cereal out of this creepy and unfortunate act. ”
Based on the back-and-forth laid out in Post’s lawsuit, however, the dispute seemed destined for court. OK Go’s attorney sent a cease-and-desist letter to Post back in September, alleging the company’s new brand name would “suggest to consumers” that the band was endorsing Post’s products.
In the letter, the attorney claimed the band’s past collaborations with Sony, Mercedes Benz, Google, and more has led consumers to associate the OK Go name with consumer products across various industries. Of particular note was OK Go’s previous collaboration with Post on a series of promotional videos for Honey Bunches of Oats in 2011.
An attorney for Post retorted one week later by downplaying the band’s argument in a rather snarky manner: “Given the length of time that has passed since that limited collaboration over a decade ago, the very small number of views indicated on the YouTube videos you referenced, and the general consuming public’s rather short attention span, it will also have absolutely no bearing on consumer perception of Post’s mark OK GO! used with cereal or cereal-based snacks, and will not lead to any mistaken association with OK Go.”
Post claims it then offered to pay OK Go as part of a “good faith effort” for a “branding collaboration/co-marketing arrangement,” but the band rejected the offer without providing a counter-proposal and made a “clear threat of potential litigation.”
Revisit OK Go’s “Here It Goes Again” video below, along with their promotional clip for Honey Bunches of Oats.