Hulk Hogan sues Cocoa Pebbles

It’s Hulk Hogan vs. The Flintstones – for real.

The “Hulkster” is suing Post Cereals, maker of Cocoa Pebbles, accusing the company of appropriating his image in an animated commercial for the cereal. According to Tampa Bay Online:

In the “Cocoa Smashdown” commercial, a character goes by the name “Hulk Boulder,” which Hogan’s lawsuit says is a name he used early in his career until wrestling promoter Vince McMahon decided he should have an Irish name. The wrestler also contends he has been harmed by, among other things, “the unauthorized and degrading depictions in the Cocoa Smashdown advertisements.”

Perhaps Hogan was offended by the shot where the character seemingly pulls a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles out of his trunks? You be the judge:

(Thanks, Jeaux Janovsky)


  • joecab

    Degrading? They made him look better than he has in years. And hasn’t this commercial been out a while now?

  • Steve

    Long blonde hair… mustached wrestler named Hulk? Hmmm. I wonder if Stan Lee ever thought of suing Hulk Hogan?

  • http://www.comemeetjesus.blogspot.com chris powell

    they made him look awesome! whats the problem?!
    I would consider it an honor to beat up by bam bam!

  • top cat james

    That was actually a fun little spot. Is Scott Shaw! still involved with these ads?

  • David Cuny

    Funny, but I’d think Jerry would have more sympathy for someone’s designs being stolen without any compensation.

    They could have gone for a more generic wrestler, but instead decided to copy the hair color, the mustache, the trophy belt, the short pants…

    There’s no question that the character is based on “Hulk Hogan” (a character portrayed by Terry Gene Bollea).

    And it’s used to promote the sale of breakfast cereal, which certainly doesn’t fall into the “fair use” or “parody” categories. It’s done with the sole intent of using Hulk’s popularity to sell a product.

    I’d say he’s got a valid complaint.

  • http://dmgermain.blogspot.com David Germain

    Hulk’s got no case.

    If they actually wanted to use the image of Hulk Hogan himself for this commercial, they would have hired to do the voice and based all of the animation on his act.
    What they did here instead is draw a rather generic wrestler type of character and give him the name Hulk Boulder as merely a not so subtle reference to Hulk Hogan. It’s no different from the episode with Rock Quarrey. That character was a refernce to Rock Hudson and voiced by John Stevenson.

    Any link between this commercial and any damage done to the Hulk Hogan franchise is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge stretch. Don’t waste the tax-payer’s money on this crap, please.

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    Top Cat James, the last Pebbles spots that I worked on originally aired in 2001, although I’ve seen quite a few of them rebroadcast in recent years. I had nothing to do with the spot in question (which was a remake of a similar spot from the 1980s.)

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    The character is called “Bulk Boulder”, not “Hulk”…

  • http://bakertoons.blogspot.com/ Charles Brubaker

    David,

    So, caricatures should be forbidden in animation unless they get permission?

  • http://www.facebook.com/shawshawshaw Shaw

    He doesn’t even OWN the name “Hulk” – it was licensed YEARS ago by Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics gets a fee from any and all merchandise sold by “Hulk Hogan”.

  • http://www.nofateandrazor.com Razor

    @Steve — I think there was some kind of deal worked out with Marvel over the name Hulk — I remember most WWF stuff when I was growing up mentioned being a trademark of Marvel comics… since the mid 90′s he has used the name “Hollywood Hogan” more and more…

    I’m sure there’s a Hulk Hogan vs Bam Bam Bigelow match out there someplace, too :)

  • Phil

    Hogan must be sort of cash for a lawsuit so very trivial.

    Awesome looking commercial though, I would be honored to be parodied in it.
    Maybe he didn’t like the idea of being beaten by a toddler.

  • Tim Schuit

    @David Cuny

    Nobody’s DESIGNS are being stolen. They’ve simply created a caricature of somebody’s image.

    I see no problem with this and I think Hulk Hogan is probably just desperate for cash if he honestly feels the need to SUE over a breakfast cereal cartoon. Yea I bet his life is in ruins now ever since this commercial.

  • erlab

    That commercial has been playing on TV for at least 2 years and he first noticed this NOW?

  • Titanius Anglesmith, Fancy Man of Cornwood

    Hogan, it’s over. Just accept it.

  • Karen

    If I were Hulk Hogan, I’d be more offended over the animation than anything. And that would include virtually EVERY fruity or cocoa pebbles ad animation for the last 30 years. Cheap and ugly.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Hulk Hogan has an image worth stealing these days? I forgot he existed until now. What cereal-eating kid would even recognize him? Sounds like an attempted money grab.

  • steppo

    Money money wha! wha! money money Wha! money money

    Sorry – I have nothing smarter to say on the subject.

  • Daniel Haskins

    Karen, I know that commercial doesn’t look as good as the ones did when I was a kid in the 90′s and early 2000′s but you don’t have to call it cheap and ugly. I can’t remember the quality of the animation in those commercials, but I know it was good enough to make me want coco pebbles. This commercial is just in a different style than we are used to seeing the Flintstones characters in, I wouldn’t call it bad, it’s just a different style.

    Hulk Hogan doesn’t want to be beat up by a baby. I don’t remember him ever having long hair and a curly mustache though. Maybe that was before my time.

  • Marc Baker

    This kinda reminds me of when Jackie Gleason sued Hanna-Barbera over how ‘The Flintstones’ had some similarities to ‘The Honeymooners’. during it’s original run, but eventually had a change of heart because he would’ve looked bad for going after a cartoon. What’s more surprising is the fact that Hogan just discovered this ad that’s been running for quite some time now. Admittedly, ‘Hulk Boulder’ does have many of Hogan’s features. (long blond hair, mustache, ect.) But Hogan has become such an icon in pop culture, that parody, and references are pretty much inevitable. Heck, Hogan had his own cartoon series way back in the mid 80′s if anyone remembers that.

  • http://MBCraigMyLivesandTime.blogspot.com Mitchell Craig

    Given the nasty divorce the Hulkster went through, I’m not that surprised about the lawsuit.

  • http://www.ronimation.com Ron

    This may be a bit off topic but now’s a good a time to ask as any. People have been saying for years that 2D is dead, but I’m always seeing new commercials for Pebbels, Coco-puffs, froot loops and all kinds of cereal that were done in 2D. Which studio(s) animate them? How many animators work on it?

  • hannah

    I’ve always wondered more about their use of that fruit-robot thing, in regards to that disney movie, Treasure Planet.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wd5rymdb6_8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQvSjx_U8bY

  • ZAR

    Hulk… who?

    Your Career down the drain? Your sense of humour lacking? But your lawyer had the dollar sign in his eyes when he came up with this idea?

    Face it, Mr. Hogan, your career is pretty much over and this cheap attempt to cash in on a caricature will fail miserably and only put shame on you.

  • uncle wayne

    LAWSUIT!?? Mannnnn…..i think he’s just jealous that Bamm is farrrrr more fit (AND more strong) than HE !!!!!

  • Is there a lawyer in the house?

    I hope the lawyers do a smashdown on Post Cereals for ripping off Hulk’s image to sell more cereal. Oh well, all’s fair in love and a balanced breakfast.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/23748114@N06/ Mike

    Does this mean that Count Chocula will be sued by the estate of Bela Lugosi? Or the Flintstones will have to pay for the rights to “Stony Curtis” and “Anne Margrock”?

    I know the Lugosi family has successfully pursued claims against companies using the actor’s image, but only photos, not broad caricatures. Didn’t the Vlasic pickle people have to pull back on their cartoon of the bird who holds a pickle like Groucho’s cigar, changing the voice and eliminating the trademark eyebrow wiggle? Hogan should be pleased that he has become everybody’s idea of an iconic wrestler, but they are swiping his schtick to sell cereal.

  • Mac

    Maybe the Hulkster thinks there are big bucks hiding in Kraft Foods cushions,but he would be wrong. Kraft dumped Post onto Ralcorp,the remaining business parts of the old Ralston-Purina food company. General Mill has Chex and Nestle has Purina,and this Ralcorp pretty much has…Post and other foods that find their way into big Lots. Good suing,Hulk,and I hope you get a reality show out of it on the Litigation Network. Like all of you other endeavors,I won’t watch.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    It’s official: Hulk Hogan has too much time on his hands.

  • http://www.flashcartoons.org Lavalle Lee (flashcartoons.org)

    i liked it :)

    who wouldn’t want to be BAMMED by BAM BAM! he is a cartoon icon

  • drmedula

    I think the Karloff and Lorre families were able to make a case for FRANKENBERYY and BOOBERRY, but CHOCULA is, like The Count from Sesame Street, all about the accent. (Although we all know who it’s supposed to be).
    Didn’t Hogan swipe his look from Superstar Billy Graham anyway?

  • Pedro Nakama

    It’s satire of a public figure. Who’s his lawyer? This guy…
    http://www.rudeshark.com/

  • Scarabim

    The animation in that commercial is actually smooth, lively and expressive. It reminds me of the animation for the Genie in Aladdin.

    As a kid I used to wonder how come animation in commercials is always so much better than the animation in, you know, actual cartoons on TV. I knew nothing about corporate stinginess and deadlines.

    Regarding Hulk, well, the caricature does borrow heavily from his image and shows him as a bad guy getting beat up by a baby. So I kind of understand his reaction, although I’m not sure he has a valid case for a lawsuit.

  • http://ramapithblog.blogspot.com David Gerstein

    “Bulk Boulder” (actual pronunciation/presumed spelling) is obviously a Hulk Hogan spoof, and as such would/should be totally acceptable in a standard cartoon—the rule was set as far back as the 1930s, when Bing Crosby tried and failed to stop Warner’s caricature of him in BINGO CROSBYANA.

    The question becomes murkier, though, when the parody appears to be the selling point for a product ad, be it animated or not. Burt Lahr objected in court to Snagglepuss’ imitation of his voice—but only when it came to ads (as a result, a disclaimer in later ads would point out that the voicework wasn’t Lahr’s).

  • Clueless

    Hulk Hogan’s recent divorce must have been brutal on his bank account.

  • Andyman

    Desperate has-been is desperate.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    I doubt this lawsuit is really about money.

    I presume it’s a PR stunt to try to drum up some buzz for a former celeb. It doesn’t matter whether the lawsuit is tossed out, it gets him some internet chatter and reminds people that he’s still alive.

    It probably good for the cereal too since I’m sure most people would never have clicked on a link to watch a Cocoa Pebbles commercial without the “controversy”.

    I would be completely un-surprised if the Cocoa Pebbles people thought the whole thing up. That would be very professional wrestling.

    Nice looking commercial although I too find it disorienting to see the characters looking so different than their classic forms.

    On a related note, are the teen versions of Pebbles and Bam-Bam from the 70′s considered “canon” or are they from an alternate universe that we try to pretend didn’t happen?

  • Brad Constantine

    I remember somebody lost a lawsuit once creating a doll called “Kareem Abdul Ja Bear” (not me..hehe)for the same type of complaint.(Image used for a commercial purpose without permission), and that was just a teddy bear with a basketball uniform on. Apparently, there is a “degree of similarity” that can be reached in a suit like this regarding image, and or name. In this case, The depiction of the likeness in the ad could be considered “less than flattering” to some degree, as far as him getting beat up by a baby. Bam Bam, or any other.
    The fact is: Hulk Hogan is a wrestler who occasionaly lost bouts. Not good for his case. Kareem won his case because he said the “cute and cuddly” depiction did not fit his “image” as a basketball player. note: Will Vinton was smart to get Michael Jackson to do the voice in his “Michael Jackson” raisin ads back in the day. When in doubt, ask for permission.

  • Gregory Bernard

    Post can just point out that Bulk Boulder has a full head of hair, so no one could ever mistake him for Hogan.

  • http://kosterreicherportfolio.blogspot.com/ Kristi O.

    This just makes me sad, though that’s mostly because it serves to remind me that they don’t sell Cocoa Pebbles here in Canada anymore because of the sugar content.

  • Bill Field

    Everyone who knows the six year run of the Flintstones knows about the stone-age parody of current day folks and characters. Bulk Boulder could be an ancestor of the Hulkster, but it’s NOT Hulk! Perry Masonite, Ann Margrock, Rock Hudstone, Stony Curtis, et al provide the history of this fair use in a satire or parody. Scott Shaw! rocks, he has ALWAYS paid homage to the original Flintstones series, and remain in that Stone Age Classic universe. Hulk’s motives may be to pull himself out of his financial straights.

  • http://www.sweetposer.tk/urbmn/ Cameron A.

    Terry Bollea owns the Hulk Hogan and Hulkamania trademarks. If I remember correctly, Marvel transferred the trademarks to WWE in the early 2000s. Hogan’s owned the trademarks since at least 2006.

    That said, this is such a trivial lawsuit. If Hogan’s going to sue over every parody he’s in, he should go after Playboy and Harvey Kurtzman’s estate for that 1986 Little Annie Fanny Hunk Hokum spoof. Might as well cover all the bases.

  • http://cheekyentertainment.blogspot.com/ Craig Clark

    Where’s the beef? Looks ok to me.

  • Scarabim

    **This just makes me sad, though that’s mostly because it serves to remind me that they don’t sell Cocoa Pebbles here in Canada anymore because of the sugar content.**

    God Bless America.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Re:
    –are the teen versions of Pebbles and Bam-Bam from the 70’s considered “canon” or are they from an alternate universe that we try to pretend didn’t happen?–

    They are part of the ASS continuity, as seen in the television show LOST and it’s deadly-dull, vague finale.

  • Peter H

    I for one think there is a huge difference between entertainment and commercials. (Largely $$!) Sure, parody in an entertainment context is fair game.

    But the cereal company is paying to use the Flintstones for promotion – yet they are getting the reference to Hulk Hogan free. I think he has a case!

  • Titanius Anglesmith, Fancy Man of Cornwood

    That’s odd, Hogan and his lapdog Eric Bischoff had no problem having wrestlers on “Celebrity Wrestling” use ring named trademarked by WWE, and called WWE executives names when they ordered them to stop. So Hogan thinks it’s OK to use someone else’s intellectual property without permission but not his?

  • JR

    Could he be treating this character in the same way another company might treat a trademark? If you don’t protect your copyright through litigation, you risk it becoming diluted and considered public domain.

    And stop treating Post like they’re some sort of Martyr. It’s clearly a calculated move to use a Hogan-esque character, regardless of his current career, Hulk Hogan has become synonymous with wrestling. The question is, is this a violation of fair usage and that’s why you need the court system. The fact he hadn’t seen the ad before now is asinine (I’m guessing most of us watch kid’s shows, which is why we’ve all seen it before.) The question is, does he have a case or a legitimate grievance? If he does, then you settle it in the courts.

  • Rat

    “It’s satire of a public figure. Who’s his lawyer? ”

    Satire, parody and caricature are all acceptable defenses, except when it comes to advertising products.

    There is established law in this area… one cannot “parody” a celebrity and have them endorse a product.

    This is why you can get away with “Ann-Margrock and Stony Curtis” for the show itself.

    IMO, Hulk Hogan has a case, and will likely see a payout for this.

  • Rat

    I’m about to launch my new line of vitamins: “FWinstones!” Chewable vitamins in the shape of “Kaveman Fwed”, “Flilma” and “Bawney Wubble”.

    Next month, stay tuned for my new breakfast cereal, “Fwooty Peeples.”

    Geee…. think they’d sue?

  • http://yowpyowp.blogspot.com Don M. Yowp

    Rat, no. Elmer Fudd would sue.

    And when did Gleason actually sue Hanna-Barbera? Date, place, etc.?

  • Doug Holverson

    @FP: ASS continuity?

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/gerarddesouza Gerard de Souza

    The story as I heard it was that Gleason thought of suing HB about the Flintstones but was adivsed not as to not become known as the one who took a show beloved by many and children off the air.
    He had a case. I can think of plots that were the same between The Flintsones and The Hooneymooners. Mel Blanc reportedly was asked to imitate Art Carney and refused.
    Of course The Flintsones had more locations, though. :))

  • http://dangerousbird.com Kel

    Yyyyabba Dabba Suuuuuuueeeeeee!!!!!!!!

  • Chad

    That can’t be a likeness of Hulk Hogan, he has hair.

  • Lamont

    It’s simpler than all that, guys. Parody law. He has no case.

  • Bill Ostrander, Jr.

    The Bulk Boulder character doesn’t even have a Fu Manchu mustache or sideburns like Hogan has. Hogan’s ego is running wild if he thinks that looks like him. He must need the money because of his divorce and the payment he made to settle the potential lawsuit from the kid who got injured while riding with Hogan’s son.

  • http://hogankickstheFlintstonesandpostcerealbutt Travis

    I think some you have lost it. It was wrong for post cereal to use Hulk Boulder in animated commercial just so they can sell their Flintsones cereal. Hulk Hogan has ever right for suing post cereal like hogan said he use Boulder early in his career. And that robot in
    one commercial of Flintstones cereal look like number five you know from the movie Short Circuit. Post cereal get a life your going down

  • ed

    in my opinion terri is only trying esperately to recover the financial loses he had to pay to his ex wife