Devo sues McDonald’s over “New Wave Nigel”

A month or so ago, my brother had a profound urge to send me a surprise gift package in the mail.  “Have you checked your mailbox?” he kept asking.  I finally got it and found out that he’d desperately wanted to send me this little guy.  See, I’m a huge Devo fan, and McDonald’s had just put out a Happy Meal toy (in conjunction with, eccch, American Idol) that wore the Devo hat, had a jumpsuit, and even wore Devo-esque New Wave sunglasses.  And when you move his little microphone arm, he kind of plays a Freedom of Choice type song for a few seconds. 

“Nifty!” I thought, but didn’t exactly put it on the record shelf next to my other Devo collectibles.  After all, it was a McDonald’s toy–and I don’t want my friends to think I support American Idol!  Instead, I left it at work on top of my cubicle wall for all my lame coworkers to see, because I don’t care what they think.

Well, now it appears that Devo gave no permission for McDonald’s to use their iconic hat (which Gerard Casale himself invented–and you have to admit it’s a snazzy and original design somewhere between a Mayan pyramid and the Guggenheim museum).  Though named “New Wave Nigel” (perhaps by a creative XTC fan in the toy design department?), the toy is clearly Devo through and through, not an homage but a deliberate knock-off, and an unlicensed one. 

In the days when I was sick, Pitchfork Media among others scooped me on this: Devo are gonna sue ol’ Ronald’s saggy pants right off him.  According to Gerard Casale (before his lawyer told him to shut up):

This New Wave Nigel doll that they’ve created is just a complete Devo rip-off and the red hat is exactly the red hat that I designed, and it’s copyrighted and trademarked. We’re in the midst of suing them.This New Wave Nigel doll that they’ve created is just a complete Devo rip-off and the red hat is exactly the red hat that I designed, and it’s copyrighted and trademarked.

They didn’t ask us anything. Plus, we don’t like McDonald’s, and we don’t like American Idol, so we’re doubly offended.

Kudos, Devo friends!  I love you and hate McDonald’s, so this is a win-win situation for me–and that’ll go double in a couple years, when I hawk this thing on eBay!

P.S. Photo stolen from a Flickr account owned by a guy named “©★®|★π♥ƒƒ“–thanks dude!

prodigalsonnybono

Guided by Voices? Built to Spill? Crappy as Shit!

2 thoughts on “Devo sues McDonald’s over “New Wave Nigel”

  1. Right on Devo!!!!
    I hate McDonalds and Idol .
    I am glad those ninnies and twits got the fork in the toaster from Devo!
    Justice served.

    Like

  2. This, from a corporation that is so insanely litigious that they sued a Mr. McDonald from a tiny town in Scotland that tried to open a burger shop! I’m pretty jaded these days, but McD’s move is shockingly pompous. I mean, this is not some toy car, this is an Idol tie-in. They must have known exactly what they were doing.

    Like

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