First, a caveat: Nutella totally counts as a geeky interest, thank you very much. And now it’s an area of geekitude that’s being threatened by The Man. The Man in this case is Ferrero, the company that makes Nutella, which shut down World Nutella Day with a cease and desist letter to its founder, Nutella superfan Sara Rosso.
Also, by “anti-Nutella” I mean “the anthesis of all that is good in the universe. Or “the opposite of Batman,” whichever you prefer.
Wrote Rosso on NutellaDay.com:
On May 25, 2013, I’ll be darkening the World Nutella Day site, nutelladay.com, and all social media presence (Facebook, Twitter), in compliance with a cease-and-desist I received from lawyers representing Ferrero, SpA (makers of Nutella)…
Seven years after the first World Nutella Day in 2007, I never thought the idea of dedicating a day to come together for the love of a certain hazelnut spread would be embraced by so many people! I’ve seen the event grow from a few hundred food bloggers posting recipes to thousands of people Tweeting about it, pinning recipes on Pinterest, and posting their own contributions on Facebook! There have been songs sung about it, short films created for it, poems written for it, recipes tested for it, and photos taken for it.
The cease-and-desist letter was a bit of a surprise and a disappointment, as over the years I’ve had contact and positive experiences with several employees of Ferrero, SpA., and with their public relations and brand strategy consultants, and I’ve always tried to collaborate and work together in the spirit and goodwill of a fan-run celebration of a spread I (to this day) still eat.
I have hope that this is not a goodbye to World Nutella Day forever, for the fans’ sake, and hopefully it will live on in one form or another in the future.
Rosso explained to HuffPo that the cease and desist letter demanded she stop publishing anything with the Nutella name, logo, or likeness and further stated that she’d still be willing to let Ferrero take over World Nutella Day, which has gotten major press coverage since its founding seven years ago. “I would have been open to any kind of discussion,” said Rosso. “[It] didn’t have to be a legal document.”
Maybe there’s more to this story, making it a massive Nutella-themed conspiracy thriller (someone get my agent on the line, I have an idea for a screenplay). Or maybe it’s just another instance of corporate lawyers not knowing how to deal with fans. Regardless, my Nutella tastes of chocolate, hazelnuts, and tears today.