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October 4, 2013
Exxon Sues FXX Over Logo
 
Sometimes we come across stories in the advertising and marketing world that are just so ridiculous that they yield two possible responses from us; we 1) don't bat an eye and move on, or 2) cover it because of its absurdity.

This Exxon v. FXX lands squarely in the latter category.

So here's the deal: FX is launching a comedy-centered channel, and instead of going after the typical "FX 2," they decided to mark the second channel with an interlocking "X". Though it seems similar to Exxon, and one could stretch saying they "modeled" the logo off Exxon, there is no blatant  copying. For one thing, Exxon's interlocking Xs head downward, from the top left to the bottom right. FXX's go downward from the top right to the bottom left.

Secondly, one company is the largest publicly traded oil company in the world, and the other is a TV station.

Still, Exxon rebuffs the "silly" remarks and believes that they must go on the offensive and demand FX Networks cease and desist the use of the new logo immediately.

An oil company versus a TV network? This will be good.

FX retorted, saying that customers will not go to a gas station looking for a TV show, nor find themselves tuning into FXX looking for gas. All true, but Exxon found some of our society's best and brightest online looking to conjure up conspiracies of the networks working together.

Someone should explain to Exxon execs that no one takes anonymous online comments seriously anymore.

The sad thing is, this isn't an open-and-shut case. With the complaint of the logo looking "confusingly similar" and with the recent wins for bubble-wrapping the brains of U.S. consumers, Exxon could actually win this if it gets the right judge; one who feels like sticking it to a media company.

Perhaps it's the cynic in us.

If the two logos were in the same industry, we could definitely find grounds for the complaint. But these two companies are so strikingly different, we would think that this case lacks grounds. And for "confusingly similar," if this is truly the "age of the consumer," why can we not rely on the consumer to do their due diligence, read the information that is at their fingertips, and discern that one is an oil company and the other is a TV network? Though we lack confidence in the decision-making of some consumers, tearing these two companies apart does not take a post-secondary degree.

We shall see.

Image courtesy of Consumer Media


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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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