That’s not very nice, nice baby! New Jersey-based artist and designer Benjamin Douglass claims that brewing giant Anheuser-Busch stole his pun-tastic design for an ice cream truck featuring a likeness of early-1990s rap phenomenon Vanilla Ice, NBC News reports.
At last weekend’s “Whatever, USA” festival in Crested Butte, Colorado, an event organized by Anheuser-Busch, the rapper (whose real name is Robert Matthew Van Winkle) was handing out frozen treats alongside an ice cream truck emblazoned with decals strikingly similar to the Vanilla Ice Cream Man design that Douglass created in 2010. The design is available for purchase, in the form of a T-shirt, from Teepublic.
Douglass originally called out the brewer on social media. “Looks like Bud Light liked my work enough to steal it,” he posted on his Facebook page (the message has since been edited to make the language more diplomatic). “Major bummer… it would have been a dream come true to be a part of this promotion.” Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “No problem @budlight @vanillaice feel free to steal my work. I’m sure times are tight for @AnheuserBusch #whateverusa.” The tweet earned him a friendly response from the rapper himself, who tweeted back: “Now I see it. Looking good. Big pimpin, luv your artwork @bennyd302.” Douglass seemed starstruck by the response, tweeting: “it would have been a dream come true to work with you on this ice! Maybe bud light can send me a sixer?”
But the vote of confidence from Vanilla Ice was ultimately not enough to appease Douglass’s outrage. “Unfortunately, independent artists are having their work stolen all too often,” he told NBC News.
A spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch responded to Douglass’s claims, telling KUSA that “Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light respect the property and creativity of artists and we’re looking into the situation.”
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