TGI Fridays Sent Its Own Exceedingly Friendly Cease-and-Desist Letter to a Chicago Bar

Moneygun had planned to dress as TGI for Halloween

Photo: Moneygun
Headshot of Tim Nudd

Look what Netflix started this time.

Just weeks after the streaming service sent a creative and charming cease-and-desist letter to an unauthorized Stranger Things bar in Chicago, TGI Fridays has attempted the same thing—in the same city.

A bar called Moneygun was planning a “TGI Moneygun” Halloween party, at which it planned to “dress up” as TGI Fridays:

This didn’t sit well with the restaurant chain, but the lawyers decided to be playful with their response. They sent a letter of warning to Moneygun’s Bruce Finkelman, along with a gift package filled with buttons and other pieces of Fridays flair, according to Eater.

Here’s the letter:

Dear Bruce,

As the trademark counsel at TGI Fridays, I wanted to reach out regarding Moneygun’s plan to dress up as TGI Fridays for Halloween.

It’s certainly a rite of passage to dress up as your personal hero for Halloween. After all — TGI Fridays is renowned for being the country’s first singles bar and has been credited for creating loaded potato skins and popularizing the Long Island Iced Tea. (You’re welcome, by the way.)

Fortunately, we have a number of things you can take off our hands to party like it’s always Friday. Please see enclosed gift.

All is yours to keep … we don’t need it anymore.

Unfortunately (for you — not us), trademark law requires us to protect our brands and to take action against any use that might cause confusion or diminish the value of our trademarks. I’m concerned that your event — featuring “TGI” branding, our logo, a variation of our IN HERE, IT’S ALWAYS FRIDAY slogan, and so on — would cross that line.

As such, we must ask that you avoid using TGI Fridays’ trademarks, logos, and other property in your event.

Seriously. Don’t. Thanks. Happy Halloween.

Leanne Stendell
Senior Attorney

It’s a decent effort, if obviously completely derivative. The Netflix letter was better written and more fun, but TGI Fridays gets points for shamelessly plugging those “loaded potato skins” and turning the letter into a real ad.

Regardless, Moneygun heeded TGI’s advice and has changed the name of the party to Wear the Flair. But it’s still obliquely referencing the chain in the party’s slogan: “It feels like the end of the week all the time in here.”

“When we found out we might not be able to dress up as our hero for Halloween, we were devastated,” Moneygun partner Will Duncan said in a statement to DNA Info. “Luckily, the lawyers explained there are just a few things we really can’t say.”

“It’s a little bit of tongue-in-cheek,” TGI Fridays spokesman Chris Vary said of the letter. “We recognize we are a fun brand, and we recognize the fun and spirit of the program.”

See the letter below.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: October 31, 2017 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT