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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.

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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

twitter.com/tiffhsulatimes

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.


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