Hulk Hogan settled his lawsuit against Post Foods claiming that an ad for Cocoa Pebbles cereal misappropriated his likeness by featuring the cartoon character “Hulk Boulder.” Under the terms of the settlement, the commercial will no longer be aired; other terms were not disclosed.
Professional wrestler and self-described actor Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan, filed suit in May. He claimed that Post Foods, the maker of Cocoa Pebbles, misappropriated his image and engaged in false endorsement, and he sought both punitive and compensatory damages.
In the commercial, Flintstones characters Fred and Barney wrestle with a cartoon character called “Hulk Boulder.” After Hulk Boulder handily defeats Fred and Barney and begins to celebrate by eating a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles, the wrestler – who sports long blond hair and a Fu Manchu mustache, features that Hogan claimed are his “signatures” – is then bested by Bam-Bam. The commercial ends with Hulk Boulder “shown humiliated and cracked into pieces with broken teeth,” according to Hogan’s complaint.
Hogan argued that before his rise to fame as a professional wrestler in the 1980s, he originally wrestled as part of a tag team known as Terry and Ed Boulder before he made it big. Hogan filed a notice of dismissal with prejudice, dismissing the case on September 27. “Terry is happy to have it favorably resolved,” said Hogan’s lawyer, Joseph W. Bain.
To read the complaint in Bollea v. Post Foods, click here.
Why it matters: While the terms of the settlement are mainly undisclosed, the suit, and Post’s agreement to no longer air the commercial, serve as a cautionary tale to advertisers considering using a celebrity likeness. Celebrities are increasingly seeking to enforce all aspects of their publicity rights – even cartoon versions.