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!

About prodigalsonnybono

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

Posted on July 1, 2008, in Art, Bands, Celebrities, Devo, Other Stuff, Personal Shit, Pitchfork Media, Politics. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. kittydiggins

    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.

  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.

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