YouTuber says Coke ripped off his viral trademark
TORONTO — Brendan Richmond created a viral sensation with his hoser comedy song “Out For a Rip” in 2013, but he was surprised to recently find his popular catchphrase gracing the side of a Coca-Cola bottle.
The Kingston, Ont.-based comedy rapper’s “Out For a Rip” video went on to rack up more than 12 million views on YouTube, convincing him to trademark the saying that made it so popular. That’s why he wasn’t expecting to see it printed on the side of one of the world’s most popular beverages at a Toronto grocery store.
“I just pulled it out of the cooler — and it was literally in my hand before I saw what was on it,” said Richmond, whose rapper persona is B. Rich.
“I definitely did a double take.”
So he’s now released a followup song, titled “Out for a Sip,” on YouTube taking the beverage corporation to task for using “Out For a Rip” without his permission.
The new video also features Richmond’s Toronto-based intellectual property lawyer Rob Kittredge — playing the role of lawyer John Buddy — who discusses B. Rich’s legal rights.
Kittredge said he’s “old friends” with the performer and they agreed that making a video would be a fun idea.
“I don’t have a lot of clients for whom this would be an appropriate response,” Kittredge said.
“We had the opportunity to do something totally creative and my job is boring, so this is an unusually fun way to write a demand letter for me.”
Near the end of “Out for a Sip,” B. Rich tells the company he’d be happy with a settlement that includes a truckload of Coke dumped on his front lawn, tickets to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Blue Jays, and a new pair of skates.
A representative for Coke said the company has ”reached out” to discuss the matter.
Richmond said his music career skyrocketed after the original video went viral, but he became more savvy after noticing that people were slapping “Out For a Rip” on bumper stickers and T-shirts without his permission.
So he submitted to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and received documents that made the phrase legally his own.
“Those words have become such an integral part of my career and livelihood as a musician,” he said.
“So to see it on this rather iconic product … was shocking.”
The Coke bottle also features a scannable image which encourages customers to download an app to access an “Out for a Rip” Spotify playlist created by the company. It includes bands like Hollerado, Black Keys and Hot Hot Heat, Richmond said.
“Aside from not including the (‘Out for a Rip’) song itself, it doesn’t jive with the esthetic of ‘Out For a Rip,’ which is rural Canadian, good ol’ boy fun music,” he added.
“In my mind I’d see ‘Life is a Highway’ by Tom Cochrane, some (Guns N’ Roses) and Bon Jovi.”
The musical threat of litigation had already gathered more than 45,000 views as of Wednesday afternoon.
David Friend, The Canadian Press