Against the Grain: Why is Post Cereal trying to “bully” Indie Rock Band OK Go?

Not many people can say that a cereal company is bullying them. The idea is wholly antithetical to the cheerful, high-energy ads we see aimed at children. Nonetheless, the Indie band OK Go is now under fire after a major cereal company used its name without permission. That makes sense, right? According to Post Consumer Brands, it does.

It’s a tale almost as old as time. Goliath towers over little David, expecting to defeat him shortly (pun intended). However, Goliath didn’t expect the force with which David responded. After all, little guys can’t fight back, or so the big guys usually think. Let’s dive a little deeper into the situation.

Who is OK Go (The Band)?

In case you’re not already an OK Go mega-fan, here’s some background information on the band. The now LA-based Indie Rock band formed in Chicago, IL, in 1998. They signed to Capitol Records in 2001 and released their eponymous debut album, OK Go, in 2002, followed by three more albums with popular hits, “Here It Goes Again” and “This Too Shall Pass.”

The band currently consists of lead singer Damian Kulash, bassist Tim Nordwind, drummer Dan Konopka and guitarist and keyboardist Andy Ross. The band’s name originates from an art teacher’s repetitive use of the phrase, “OK…go!” during time spent at an arts camp in Michigan, where Kulash and Norwind met in their youth.

In addition to touring the world, the band has made appearances on television talk shows and at special events and once had a role in the beloved children’s franchises Yo Gabba Gabba and Sesame Street. Fans admire the band for its distinct sound, unorthodox music videos and dedicated charity work.

What is OK Go! (The Cereal Product)?

OK Go! is a cup cereal product made by Post. This all-in-one portable cereal cup containing cereal and dry milk recently hit the shelves. According to the OK Go! package, consumers “just add cold water” to make a complete bowl of cereal.

What is the Issue?

When news came of the unauthorized use of OK Go’s name, the band’s lawyer issued a cease-and-desist letter to Post in September 2022. However, Post Consumer Brands argues that no one will confuse their to-go cereal product with the band of the same name, responding with a lawsuit for trademark use on their cereal cups.

The company’s listing for an OK Go! cup mentions that the cereal is “ready to rock.” While no one can be certain of the company’s intentions with its new product name, it is, at the very least, a questionable choice. It’s worth noting that OK Go was on the company’s radar before this dispute, as the band previously collaborated with Post to promote Honey Bunches of Oats.

OK Go has vowed to take whatever action necessary to defend its name.

Who Will Get the OK Go? 

Time will tell whether OK Go the band or Post Consumer Brands prevails in court. The cereal syndicate clearly has the upper hand with its position and resources. On the other hand, people love to root for the underdog, and public opinion can be just as powerful.