Mayan group’s logo too much like Toucan Sam, Kellogg’s squawks


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Kellogg’s feathers are ruffled over a case of too many toucans.

The cereal giant has asked a Bay Area Mayan nonprofit organization to remove an image of the tropical bird in its logo, claiming that it could be confused with Kellogg’s trademarked Froot Loops mascot, Toucan Sam.

The San Ramon-based Maya Archaeology Initiative said its toucan looks nothing like Kellogg’s cartoon and that the two birds aren’t in competition.


Dozens of toucan species exist. The Toucan Sam variety -- known to kids as the bird on TV that “follows his nose ... it always knows” -- has been around since 1963, according to its Kellogg’s bio.

Kellogg’s, based in Battle Creek, Mich., did not immediately provide comment.

The group added its own accusation: Kellogg’s Froot Loops advertising strategy sends racist messages to its young target audience with the presence of a dark-skinned villain named the Greedy Witch Doctor who steals from children, it said.

-- Tiffany Hsu

Images, from top: Boxes of Kellogg’s cereals on a grocery store shelf; the Maya Archaeology Initiative logo. Credits: Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press; Maya Archaeology Initiative

Video: Pepper Films Inc.