Devo Sues McDonalds Over “New Wave Nigel” Happy Meal Toy

Post-punk pioneers Devo are suing McDonald’s over a Happy Meal doll that sports the band’s signature red flower pot hat.

In April, McDonald’s introduced a series of American Idol Happy Meal toys based on a range of music styles, including Disco Dave, Country Clay, Rockin’ Riley and Soulful Selma.

Devo’s complaint is that the toy “New Wave Nigel” is based on the band’s image, and that the doll plays a Devo-esque song.

Bass player Gerald Casale said the band were taking legal action against McDonald’s for using their copyrighted hat without permission.

“We are in the midst of suing them,” Casale told AAP.

“This New Wave Nigel doll that they’ve created is just a complete Devo rip-off,” said Devo bassist Gerald Casale, “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.”

While it’s clear that this toy was derived from Devo’s trademark image, you have to wonder if Devo itself has devolved, when it’s suing McDonalds over appropriating the band’s 25-year old image, instead of doing something new.

12 thoughts on “Devo Sues McDonalds Over “New Wave Nigel” Happy Meal Toy

  1. You can bet McDonalds would sue if Devo put out “something new” with golden arches on the cover without making a deal first. That is, if McD’s thought it would enhance their image any. You don’t have a right to steal by using another’s creation be it a silly hat or a musical piece or even a hamburger character. As far as Devo doing something new they are free to do that if they like. Their choice. It’s not something they should do instead of suing a corporation that should know better. Perhaps McDonald’s should look into hiring new attorneys that can properly research such matters beforehand. I support the creative artists in all such matters even if it’s just a little synth piece written in his bedroom while wearing a silly hat.

  2. I too am totally behind Devo on this one. There’s not a single napkin on a McDonelzzz counter that wasn’t put there to make money, and riffing on Devo’s licks to make a buck without even asking, let alone paying, is taking the low road even for a fast food marketer. I love that no one in Mickey’s army of corporate lawyers bothered to check if the energy dome was trademarked. I look forward to further news of them getting hoisted by their own deep-fried petard.

  3. Mark Mothersbaugh, and the rest of Devo, are still very busy putting out new material. You’ve probably heard their work on any number of video games (The Sims 2, etc.) and most recently he did the music for the “Get A Mac” commercials from Apple.
    I’d be pretty angry too if I was that high profile and was being forgotten. Especially, if it was for such a lame toy.

  4. Ray and Wendy – yeah – Devo members have been busy, but the last thing I heard of Devo was the Disney kid group Devo 2.0.

  5. I dislike the fact that this article is posed to make DEVO look ad for taking offense over the fact that multiple bloated corporations have pilfered and perverted what is legally theirs. The fact that none of the major corporate zombies bothered to look up whether the fact that the hat was copyrighted is proof of intense devolution. Sue ’em for everything they got DEVO. By the way, I met Mark recently. He’s a nice guy, and deserves better than a stupid toy to smear his name, along with the band’s name…

  6. Devo itself has devolved and admits it, according to their own theory.
    Altough im on their side as a fan and i dont like McDonalds or Idol stuff either, id totally love to have New Wave Nigel :3

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