Posted: Sep 7, 2012 9:09 AM by NBC News
Updated: Sep 7, 2012 9:09 AM
Ice cream maker "Ben and Jerry's" is known for having a sense of humor, but the company isn't laughing about the actions of one adult film company.
They've filed a lawsuit claiming their reputation is on the line.
"Ben & Jerry's" is upset with line of pornographic films called "Ben & Cherry's" from Caballero Video which use logos and fonts very similar to the ice cream brand's, as well as titles that play on "Ben & Jerry's" flavors, such as "Peanut Butter D-Cup", "Boston Cream Thigh" and "New York Fat & Chunky".
"This is a, I guess, a silly kind of debate we're having about ice cream versus pornography, but there are real financial implications to it," says University of Vermont business professor Allison Kingsley.
Kingsley wasn't surprised to hear "Ben & Jerry's" claim the X-rated movies are smearing its reputation and could impact dessert sales.
"In general I don't think anyone would get confused and think it has anything to do with Ben & Jerry's brand image," says Kayce Massey.
Massey runs a chain of six adult novelty stores in Vermont and New Hampshire, but does not sell the titles named in the suit.
She says the porn industry has a long history of making parodies of mainstream entertainment.
"In general these movies are more for fun than everything, so it's just kind of a way to be comical about the whole deal," Massey says.
She also points out that "Ben & Jerry's" has its own history of risqué flavors, like "Schweddy Balls," inspired by a skit on Saturday Night Live.