Post-It Note Car Stolen by 3M

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    The folks from 3M (the Post It Notes people) contacted me through Flickr more than a year after my 2006 Post It Notes car photos had become a phenomenon.

    Michelle Gebbie, eMarketing Supervisor from 3M Office Supplies Division, was seeking permission from me to use the Post It Note Car photos in marketing materials for a contest that the photos had inspired.

    I responded, asking her where the photos would be used and what their budget was. She responded saying that they would be used for 6 months on in-store displays, and that they would not pay more than it would cost for them to copy our car and take their own photos. I respectfully asked for a little more than that and she stopped returning emails.

    They really did do a good job copying it, didn't they? Even Walt thought it was his own car. Now I am getting tons of comments and notes from people saying "I saw your photo at Staples" (or OfficeMax, Office Depot, etc.). Look at their YouTube video. Clearly they wanted people to see it in the store and think it was the same car they'd seen before on Flickr and YouTube.

    Was written up here and picked up lots of places.

    MattInVA2006, luzer, chezza g, and 7 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. arvind k ages ago | reply

      Hmmm that doesn't sound fair.

    2. oybay© ages ago | reply

      3M = Misapply, Misappropriate, Masochistic

    3. melanie.phung ages ago | reply

      Wow, just wow. I can't believe they think they can get away with this.

    4. André Gustavo ages ago | reply

      How's that possible? They don't use your pictures, ok, but the main thing here is not the picture, is the Post-It car idea!

    5. Noches Friend ages ago | reply

      It's totally unfair, and you've got the conception of the idea and its execution completely documented. Not only unfair but ungrateful, you must have bought a zillion post-it pads to carry it out!

      Seen in a discussion of Photo Dominoes. (?)

    6. Scott Ableman ages ago | reply

      Only 14,000 ;-)

    7. xecutey ages ago | reply

      The cheap bastards, companies usualy pay a fortune to get such publicity and come up with such great marketing ideas from advertising agencies.

    8. Faux Photography by Andyofne ages ago | reply

      Interestingly enough, when you google post it note car there are a lot more results than I would suspect..

      Were you the first to apply post it notes to a car?

    9. curtydc ages ago | reply

      my opinion is you should have taken the offer. you most definitely didn't come up with the idea of covering every inch of a car in post it notes, so this isn't a matter of artistic originality. my friends and i did this back in high school to our girlfriends cars. I find it humorous by how many people think this was an original idea. they didn't have to contact you in the first place, but they did.

    10. Scott Ableman ages ago | reply

      If the money were important to me, I would have pursued it originally, and no, I certainly would not assert that I was the first to put post-it notes on a car. What was inappropriate was that 3M openly said they were going to copy my photos, then stopped responding to me. Six months later, I started to get flooded with: "Hey I saw this in Staples" "I saw this at OfficeMax" "I saw this in Office Depot." The confusion was intentional. Look at their YouTube video. They wanted people who saw this in the store to be reminded of what they'd seen here and on YouTube, and think it was the same thing.

    11. The B@man ages ago | reply

      I think 3M's actions are deplorable, and I wish you the best of luck in bringing their underhandedness to the widest possible audience. Even if you have no legal come-back, the negative publicity you can generate should hopefully be enough to convince them that such actions are unconscionable.

    12. ages ago | reply

      contact an attorney. What they did seems case of copyright infringement. good luck.

    13. patrickpatrickpatrickpatrick ages ago | reply

      Just read about this on (few posts down). what a crock of s*#%!

    14. descriptive fly [deleted] ages ago | reply

      I can think of where 3M can stick it......

    15. PassengerFiftySeven ages ago | reply

      You should definitely look into chasing them for blatant copyright infringement. Good luck with it.

    16. Adam is... ages ago | reply

      god dam post it notes! i knew they were trouble!

    17. imjackhandy ages ago | reply

      I wonder how much Michelle Gebbie sold her soul for?

    18. WillowBear ages ago | reply

      Yaaa ... "crowd-sourcing" ... like the very worst of VC: those pulling the strings get the lion's share. Says alot about 3M corporate culture! *cheapskates*

    19. gothamruins 73 months ago | reply

      that's messed up. I'd blow up their facebook, twitter, etc.....

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