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Blog 10 May 2017

Control your fans?

Now that the championship for Feyenoord is within reach, the fans proudly show the logo. Even though a tattoo on someone's arm or back is not a problem, Feyenoord does draw the line when it comes to entrepreneurs capitalizing on the coming success.

A pastry chef from Puttershoek was summoned by the club to stop selling tompoucen with the Feyenoord-logo printed on them (a typical Dutch pastry). (Source: RTV Rijnmond)

Dilemma for the trademark owner

Feyenoord is not the first trademark owner to forcefully limit the use of a brand by its fans. The popularity of a brand can create a dilemma for the trademark owner. What to do when your brand is so popular that consumers become fans and they start using the brand without permission? Are you mainly excited that your brand has gained such popularity or is it more important to regain control over the use of it? Moreover, how do you regain control without placing your brand in a bad light, without turning your customers and fans against you?

The article of RTV Rijnmond, 4 May
Tompoucen with Feyenoord-logo
Tompoucen with Feyenoord-logo

No commercial nature

In order to prevent problems, it’s important that fans of the brand distance themselves from the trademark owner. It is up to the trademark owner to define how much distance and what that would look like. In addition, it is not desirable that the activities of the fans of the brand are of a commercial nature. This is the case of the pastry chef, as his goal was to make a profit.

Maintaining the 'goodwill'

It is important that the trademark owner keeps ensuring that the strategy of building and protecting the brand fits with the situation he wants to object against. Building a reputation for a brand takes a lot of time and care, and can be wiped out by an impulsive action – turning loyal fans into opponents.

NLO Shieldmark wrote another article on this subject (in Dutch);

Artikel: Regie over de merkenfans
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