I’m the Face of Harvard, Indonesian Cuisine, and Indian Snacks

October 9, 2014 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Six and a half years ago, I commissioned for a custom mascot logo to be made of me for my blog. It wasn’t cheap as I went with the best designer in the field that I could find (Sergio from SOSFactory.com – it’s going to cost you upwards of around $1,000 now if you’re wondering).

I then had my blog redesigned around the logo to match the look and feel of it, and the redesign did absolute wonders for my blog, taking it from zero to hero.

It was phenomenal for my "brand" and identity and I even had alternate versions made of me such as for Halloween, Christmas, different poses, etc.

A lot of websites and blogs linked to my mascot and blog as a source of inspiration for good branding and identity, and as a result, a bunch of thieving, no-good, scum designers blatantly ripped off my mascot logo. Most of these guys added something small such as a moustache, hat, or changing the letters on my shirt, but otherwise they copied the mascot virtually pixel by pixel.

This has been done so many times that I can’t references all the cases here. I’d say there have been at least a dozen instances of this happening. Some people have even had the nerve to slap my mascot logo on their own money making blog! I hate it when people have no sense of originality.

Anyhow, this problem didn’t just isolate itself to small-time wannabe bloggers. It spread pretty high up… here are 3 of the most incriminating examples:

Indian Snacks

A couple days ago, Sergio himself notified me of the most recent rip-off. Apparently, one of his followers from India found this and posted a picture on his Facebook page:

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So… it looks like a snack company called Vijay’s in India is now using my logo as their own. Oh, they changed "TC" on the shirt to a V and the shoes from red to white – my mistake.

Now, before I continue, I’m going to address the fact that the owners of these companies probably didn’t intentionally steal my mascot logo, but more likely hired a cheap talentless freelance designer who did intentionally steal my mascot logo. It makes me wonder just how often this happens…

Kebab Kings

This one bugs me because I made numerous attempts to contact the company informing them of their violation of my design, and they responded saying that they would take it down, but it doesn’t appear that they have. Although, it’s possible that the webmaster who may be in charge of design as well, intercepted my e-mail and didn’t pass it further up the chain to hide his crime.

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The company is Kebab Kings and is an Indonesian franchise that sells Kebabs on various types of kiosks and food stands. They apparently have over 700 food stands throughout the country… it’s almost worth trying to sue them, but an international lawsuit might not be worth it…

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I’m on a boat…

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Another of the countless photos I can find…

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People eyeing the kebab stand due to my mascot logo luring them in…

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Harvard University

I’ve saved the best for last.

No, you didn’t read that heading wrong. Believe it or not, Harvard University, the oldest and most revered institution of higher education in the United States, actually ripped off my mascot logo as well.

I was made aware of this by a person named Bryce who sent me the following e-mail:

"Hey Tyler,

I was visiting Harvard University a month or so and took a tour. I spotted this
tour company using your logo. Pretty sure they ripped you off OR the company
that created it re-used it. "

I couldn’t believe it when he accompanied the e-mail with this photo he took:

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My God. Harvard University!? What’s next? Microsoft? NASA? 

After a bit of digging around, it appears that the culprit may not have been Harvard directly itself, but rather the (possibly 3rd company) tour company that it has on campus run by a company called Trademark Tours. This tour specifically is called the Hahvahd Tour.

I e-mailed the Vice President for Public Affairs & Communications at Harvard as well as the contact e-mail addresses for HarvardTour.com, and TrademarkTours.com and was surprised to receive a reply only 18-minutes later:

"Greetings Tyler,

We will take this down TODAY. We commissioned a third party design firm to create our logo. We were under the impression that the design supplied to us was an original. "

Even more surprising was that less than 2 hours later, they actually REPLACED the banner poster that used my mascot logo (it looks like they replaced the bottom section and then painted or taped over a bit of the bottom of the top section.), and sent me a photo for proof:

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So, I am very happy with how Harvard, or Trademark Tours, handled this situation. Again, it appears to be another issue of hiring a 3rd-party design company that steals other people’s images to present as their own.

The silly thing is, the designers appear to do a decent job of modifying the image by adding a hat and whatnot – so why don’t they just do the whole design instead of taking shortcuts? It’s not like they aren’t capable…

Perhaps I just answered my own question though – shortcuts.

Anyhow, there you have it: 3 examples of blatant commercial stealing of my mascot logo. There are a lot more examples I could share, but these are the most notable ones (that I know about!).

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Posted: October 9th, 2014 under Miscellaneous  

26 Responses to “I’m the Face of Harvard, Indonesian Cuisine, and Indian Snacks”

  1. shafi says:

    hi,

    I think you should licence your logo. You could make some nice money.

  2. mark says:

    Sorry dude but not all of those are copies of your logo. The Indian snacks, yes. The others are similar in style, that’s it.

  3. Trent Carter says:

    Wow, that’s pretty amazing.. On the one hand, you’ve got to feel flattered that your logo has made it so far, but on the other hand it’s kind of disturbing that these so-called “designers” are ripping off logos from people like you and passing it off as their own. 🙁

  4. JT says:

    Did you consider that having images looking like your logo out there in front of people could actually help you, kind of like subliminal brand recognition? If people came across your website, the logo would be familiar to them. Not sure if the benefits outweigh the negatives, just a thought.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      I understand what you’re saying, but then I’d just look like a copycat to them… even if they can’t remember that they saw it before, the next time they see a copycat logo they may think of ME being the copycat… I do think the negatives definitely outweigh any small positives…

  5. i know thats food, im indonesia by the way. . .

  6. kj says:

    Call out that kebab place on their social media pages and review sites etc , This is how they will take it seriously .. Or how about making most out of it and gaining exposure and attraction by informing local media about it ? eh

  7. Marty says:

    That’s bonkers – bloody cheek of them all.

    It’s great to see how well Harvard in particular responded to it, though, although it would be nice if the others ceased using it also.

  8. Melvin says:

    All I can say is wow. You are popular dude! 🙂

    I think this is quite common especially for cheap designers at least based on my experience. They tend to pick up some graphics and just refurbish it by adding stuff instead of creating a new one from scratch. But what’s puzzling is I’m sure these companies aren’t hiring cheap rubbish designers.

  9. Aria Love says:

    This only means your are popular and doing a great job 🙂

  10. Driven says:

    This could’ve been a perfect opportunity to diversify your income streams and reach a broader audience. The key take from seeing your logo being used elsewhere is: There is something to it. Something about it, that just clicks for the bigger companies to want to use your likeness as a branding tool.

    A licensing agreement would have made you quite a bit of coin without having to do any serious leg work on your part. You’re now in the league of companies with big budgets and little discretion to spending instead of the typical consumer that stresses over $20 being extracted from their wallet from an affiliate offer. No stressing over ad campaign decay, no testing, nada, zilch. Just process the agreement for licensing and you’re off to the races.

    I don’t know if you’re religious or not, but sometimes when you need prayers answered, God has interesting ways of answering those prayers for you. Whether it’s health or financial matters, the answers to your prayers are usually just under your nose.

    You’ve had quite a successful affiliate career, and there might be signs that something bigger is waiting for you that you might have not been paying attention closely to as you should.

  11. Phoebe says:

    Having someone “ride ” on something you created to profit from feels just horrible.

    The only time people recognize you is when they want to complain because the thieves business practices are questionable and the customer comes to you to complain. You do not even own the website they are complaining to you about on your facebook page o.O

    I have had this happen to me before and when it is done by someone not in your country it is hard to legally fight it. ( especially ) if you are a new affiliate with no money, and legal feels are not in your budget.

    I have gone so far as to block off all of asia and eastern europe from even visiting my websites once.
    India is a huge problem… Recently locked out everyone from ever making an account on one website….

    what this all does is make you go completely crazy spinning out of control when you see copycats using your name and brand.

    This was just a part of why I gave up on affiliate marketing… Besides being bored and dealing with the crappy aff managing and late payments… you put hard work and money into something, just to be stolen and it does not make you feel privileged someone stole from you and it doesn’t feel like an “honor”… and allu want is them to get tazzed.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      But my logo had nothing to do with affiliate marketing and it still got stolen. No matter what you do, people will copy you. It’s annoying as hell though.

      It reminds me of an incident when I was in grade 4. We each had projects to do of some type of construction or creation of some sort, and I remember making a little fan by using a little tiny motor and hooking it up to a battery and creating a little fanblade out of cardboard. I showed the teacher and she liked it, as did my classmates. Then the next day another student comes in with the EXACT SAME setup as me (after I showed him it, too) and I was angry. I told the teacher that he copied me and she just replied with “You should take that as a compliment!”.

      Bah. I don’t take that as a compliment… I take that as theft and the fact that the other kid had no originality.

  12. Louise says:

    Oh my god! It is so hard to believe that people actually steal your logo and use it on their business! I imagine that it will be hard to to anything against the indonesian and indian that use it on their business…but the university in US …you really should put them in court!

  13. Bro m from india i will surely contact the SNACK company you should surely try to get in touch with US based university just ping them up to down your logo nothing else we want 🙂 just inform them then i think they have mind not to go to COURT 😛 🙂

  14. Arbaz Khan says:

    I have not seen any such thing here in my locality but maybe the snacks are not available where I stay. However if you contact them, I am sure they would take down your mascot from their logo immediately as it would be bad for their business to get in to legal troubles.

  15. Tom says:

    Unbelievable, bet there are so many more out there.

  16. Rita says:

    Hahaha
    Those are simply copy, but Kebab King’s logo is of aladin so they tried to be creative while copying.

  17. GreenAndWhite says:

    Hi. I saw your face on a churro. definitely copied. try to google churros logo and you’ll see your face on one of them. What i don’t understand is, why copy your face? Why not just put 2 eyes, a nose and mouth on a churro and be done with it. Like what a comment said “unbelievable!” and yes there are many more out there

  18. Abhijith says:

    One thing that particularly striked me is the Indian Snack, because I’m an Indian. Well, you should take that as a complement, may be your graphic designer!

  19. Nabila Khan says:

    Indian breakfast is very healthy and very famous for its taste also. hear i want to share some great indian breakfast that i have seen. every one should read it once.

  20. Abhishek says:

    haha.. Awesome catch and this is just a copy… I must say that graphics is really good here..

PeerFly

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