2nd May 2007

Ben & Jerry’s Steals the Banana Splits Logo?

JYC EXCLUSIVE: Yesterday Humu and I were strolling down the frozen dessert aisle of Whole Foods when we both spotted a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor: Banana Split. We noticed immediately how the logo on the ice cream container was a spot-on copy of the Hanna-Barbera Banana Splits band logo, minus the last S in the word “Splits”. Just compare the Banana Split package to the cover of the Banana Splits album I have:

Banana Splits logo
Ben and Jerry’s ice cream on the left; Album from the 1960s band Banana Splits on the right

Here’s a closeup of both logos:

Banana Splits logo closeup

Since Ben & Jerry’s are (A) known for exploiting the nostalgia of the 60s to sell ice cream, and (B) unforgiving in their endless barrage of shameless product tie-ins, I wouldn’t put it past them to license the classic bubble-gum band to shill for them. I’m sure the Splits would do it.

I picked up the carton and scanned the entire package to see if there was any credit or trademark assignment to Hanna-Barbera, who signed the Banana Splits supergroup to their label and gave them a show back in the 1970s. I did find a copyright notice for the cow illustration that appears on the back of the carton, but I found nothing to indicate that Ben and Jerry’s had licensed the Banana Splits logo.

Is is possible that Ben & Jerry’s is the most recent company to pull a Todd Goldman and appropriate someone else’s art to pass off as their own? I contacted Ben & Jerry’s to find out more, but I have not heard back from them yet. So I decided to go straight to the source and talk to the Banana Splits themselves.

Not The First Time

Bingo from the Banana Splits

I got in touch Bingo, the enigmatic second-banana of the Banana Splits (although most music scholars agree he was the “John Lennon” of the group), for his comments. Perhaps not surprisingly, he was unaware of the situation. Like most bands from the 70s, the Splits signed over all of their rights to their record label in exchange for fame and fortune, and lost control of their image.

“We have no say any more, and Hanna-Barbera doesn’t really care about us. They cater to your every whim if you can make them some coin, but once the money stops coming in, they forget about you! It’s like you’re off the bus” Bingo commented. “And so they just let golden opportunities like this slip past them. This is not the first time it has happened. We’ve been trying for years to get royalties from Bob Marley’s estate, who lifted the chorus melody of Buffalo Soldier directly from our theme song. But Hanna-Barbera just hasn’t bothered. They don’t realize the gold mine they’re sitting on” Bingo lamented. He then hit me in the face with a pie.

So what’s the verdict? Well, the jury is still out on this one, so stick with us here at JYC for full scoop (har har) as this story unfolds. If I see that Ben & Jerry’s is planning a Sour Grape flavor, you will be the first to know.

Note: All images in this post were lifted from various places on the Internet without permission or credit

There are currently 7 responses to “Ben & Jerry’s Steals the Banana Splits Logo?”

  1. 1 On May 2nd, 2007, Mai Tai said:

    Uh, I thought the Banana Splits were from the ’60s?

  2. 2 On May 3rd, 2007, stuff-o-rama said:

    This is not the first time the ‘Splits have been ripped off. I noticed that Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” blatantly rips off the “Tra La La” part of the BS theme song but Marley changed it to “Oy yo yo…”

    Perhaps Ben & Jerry were listening to “Buffalo Soldier” when naming the ice cream?

    I guess I’m just a sour grape at heart…

  3. 3 On May 3rd, 2007, stuff-o-rama said:

    I’m an idiot. I responded before I read the whole thing. No more redundant comments from me. Must go to bed now…

  4. 4 On September 10th, 2008, All The Way To Banana Splitsville! » Junkyard Clubhouse said:

    [...] The Ben & Jerry’s Banana Split ice cream changed their logo to something that does not infringe on the Splits. Hopefully photos will be [...]

  5. 5 On February 9th, 2010, Free Adverthighsements | Thighs Wide Shut said:

    [...] Ben & Jerry’s latest creation that’s so yummythat it don’ts matters thatthey stole their logofrom the Banana Splits! [...]

  6. 6 On June 3rd, 2013, Fleagle Snork said:

    I do believe this what the college boys call homage.

  7. 7 On June 3rd, 2013, Fleagle Snork said:

    Also, I vote for the flavor Uh-oh Chango Chunk.