Burning Man May Sue Quinzos Over Ad Mocking Festival’s Corporate Influence

RENO, Nev., Sept. 12 (UPI) — Burning Man organizers may consider suing sandwich chain Quiznos for their new advertisement mocking its annual festival in Nevada.

The company’s commercial is a parody video entitled “Out of the Maze and into the Playa” — a riff on the Maze Runner films — and was uploaded just a day after this year’s festival concluded in the Black Rock Desert.

The plot of the commercial involves characters from upcoming science-fiction thriller Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials traveling to Burning Man to test their character. A festival attendee tells the characters the world is “hanging on by a very thin, non-GMO, cruelty-free, organic hemp thread.” It also mocks the much-reported influence of rich burners from Silicon Valley crossing the festival of their “bucket lists.”

Burning Man spokesman Jim Graham told the Reno Gazette-Journal the festival is considering legal action against the clip not because of its mockery but because it represents a theft of intellectual property.

Neither Quiznos nor the festival have yet to contact one another about the commercial. Quiznos did not speak to the festival’s organizers prior to producing the commercial.

The reasoning behind the potential legal action has to do with Burning Man’s desire to protect itself and its community from “commodification” by controlling how photos and videos from the event are used in addition to its symbols and designs.

The Quiznos ad is not a new phenomenon. Graham said the end of the festival marks the beginning of a period during which its organizers have to defend against commodification as companies attempt to market their products alongside Burning Man content. Graham said a single phone call is usually enough to resolve such a dilemma.


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