We’re Not Jerks

We’re not jerks.

You’re probably thinking, “Oh yeah, sure. That’s exactly what I’d expect a jerk to say!”

Well, hear me out.

Though it was Nick Barnett’s contest for a fan-designed t-shirt that brought this to light, this post isn’t about Nick or his contest. But I’ll use what happened yesterday to help illustrate the overall point.

This week, Nick Barnett announced via Twitter that he was holding a contest for 4 tickets to a Bills game to whatever fan submitted the winning design for his new t-shirt. (Which we think is an awesome idea and we strongly encourage you to participate in it if you’ve got an eye for apparel design!)

So, yesterday we reached out to Nick and said we’d like to help promote however we can, but we asked that the only condition be that our “#BillsMafia bird logo” and our “#BillsMafia MAFIA wordmark” not be used, per their respective licenses (scroll to the bottom of this page for a little more info on that).

To clear up any confusion, we NEVER said that the #BillsMafia hashtag couldn’t be used. How could we? No one can own a hashtag. Do a Google search and you’ll see a plethora of results speaking to that point. Regardless, we wouldn’t want to do that anyway.

But why hold the logo “hostage,” as someone suggested yesterday? The quick and easy answer is: we do own that, and we want to control its use.

“Wow, Del, now you’re making me think you really are jerks!”

Easy, now. To make it freely available at a high resolution for anyone to use opens it up to all kinds of merchandise being made without our say.

And why do we want say?

The answer is simple. We want to use our powers for good.

We raised a decent amount of money for Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo last season. And with the new shirt designs, watches, wristbands, and helmets we’ve already sold over the summer, this season is going to dwarf last year’s efforts.

If we were to go “open source” and release a high resolution logo and wordmark for anyone to use in a contest like this, people would be able to take those images after the fact and make their own products that look just like ours… and possibly sell them for personal profit.

This could obviously greatly impact our ability to raise money for Roswell Park with our own products. And we refuse to allow that to happen. As was mentioned previously, we don’t own the hashtag. Take the logos away and we lose the exclusivity that gives us the ability to make unique products that raise money for charity.

But we’re not against collaborating with others. Our efforts with Deuce Brand, Coger Sports, Store 716, and BrandedBuffalo.com are evidence of that.

So if Nick, or anyone, wants to use the logo and can assure us that the proceeds are going to charity, we’re always available to discuss it.

Hope that makes sense. Sorry if you still think we’re jerks!

About Del Reid

Del Reid became a Bills fan shortly after coming into this world, having been raised in a home that actually had a framed picture of OJ Simpson on the wall in the living room (until it came down in 1994). Del has always had a passion for bringing people together to celebrate things they share in common. As a result, he (quite accidentally) ended up co-founding the #BillsMafia movement among Bills fans in social media -- which to this point is the coolest thing that has ever happened to him aside from his relationship with God, his wife, and his two awesome kids. Follow him on Twitter at @mrdeadlier.