Spokesman calls rookie entrepreneur's concept "morally repulsive".
Startup entrepreneur Hank Tjeersma felt he had a "refreshing idea" for a new sports drink. But Gatorade Corporation found his idea in such poor taste, they promptly sued Tjeersma for trademark infringement. Now the fresh-baked MBA is facing the full force of a mega corporation's legal muscle, unable to market or sell his warehouse full of HaterAid.
The plan was to use persons of high public interest that had been shunned by the advertising industry and market his electrolyte rich, brightly colored soft drink to groups that had been marginalized by what Tjeersma called the "elite media".
"Say, you take a high profile terrorist like Osama Bin Laden and put him on a HaterAid bottle," Tjeersma said. "Terrorism is thirsty work, you know. But I don't think that corporate sponsors are standing in line to get him to endorse their products. So you would only have to pay him a fraction of what someone like, say, Magic Johnson or Ludacris would demand. And the name recognition - the idea was brilliant."
The name recognition - not with Bin Laden, but with the famous sports drink - is what has landed Tjeersma in court. Not only is he being sued for an unspecified amount of monetary damages, a judge has also issued an injunction forbidding him to sell or market his sports drink. The renegade business pioneer expressed bitterness when he explained how his scheme was shot down by the "corporate stooges" of the multinational megacorporations.
"Cowardly muscling me out of business the way they did was a major blow against free enterprise. These guys are anti-America, because free enterprise is what America is all about," Tjeersma stated.
But Ron Hammerstadt, a Gatorade spokesperson, called Tjeersma idea "morally repugnant".
He elaborated, "Tjeersma's scheme has nothing to do with anything America stands for. He wasn't going to stop with Bin Laden. He was going to have Nazis, Klansmen, and serial killers appear on TV and have them say things like, ‘Burning down Negro churches all day long is thirsty work. So I like to kick back with a nice glass of HaterAid.' Let me tell you, it'll be a cold day in Hell before we allow our product to be associated with something like that."
But Tjeersma's problems have only begun, as the Department of Homeland Security has now launched its own investigation into his business.