Volkswagen vs. Teen Moms of Kenya

VW made from wireThis is a great example of elephants with sledgehammers protecting a china store: VW of America’s lawyers have sent “cease and desist” orders to the Fair-Trade importers of toys made by the Teenage Mothers of Kenya crafts cooperative:

Teenage Mothers and Girls Association of Kenya is an organization working for the rescue, rehabilitation and economic empowerment of girls and young women. Our programmes focus on helping solve the problems of HIV/AIDS infected children, their parents (often teenage girls who are single), orphans, the poor and the destitute of the community.
TEMAK website

Yeah, this sounds exactly like the type of organization on which VW wants to sick their lawyers. Make an example of these trademark-infringing teenage moms! Can you see the headlines on CNN and NPR: “Volkswagen sues Teen Moms of Kenya”

And over what? Toy cars made from wire!

These young women in Kenya thought it was a cute idea to make little VW Beetle® model cars to sell, so they could make a little bit of money support themselves and their kids. All over East Africa wire toys of this kind are popular and inexpensive fun for kids. And our own, gameboyed, interactivated, hypertained kids love the wire model cars and galimotos we buy at the local Fair Trade store.

VW should be proud that these folks chose the iconic Beetle® for their modest enterprise, and not the far more ubiquitous Toyotas. They should make an advertisement that highlights that when these women think “car” they picture a VW Beetle®!

Get a grip, VW of America. Embrace these women and give them a hand, instead of threatening their fair trade partners.

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