If they’re not careful, The Rolling Stones may soon find themselves under the thumb of N.C. State University: During their ZIP Code Tour appearance tonight at Raleigh’s Carter-Finley Stadium, the Brits who appropriated the blues will sell merchandise featuring the Wolfpack’s familiar “Tuffy” mascot, with the face replaced by John Pasche’s iconic tongue-and-lip logo for the Stones. The goofy wares include a “Go Stones” rally towel, several shirts and a football jersey.
The problem? The Rolling Stones’ merchandising wing, Bravado USA, and the promoter, AEG Live, forgot to get permission from the school.
Gregg Zarnstorff, the university’s director of trademark licensing, says the promoter asked to use a modified version of Tuffy in March to drive ticket sales online and through advertisements. But the deal didn’t allow the tongue-and-Tuffy graphic on merchandise, even when AEG Live asked for permission to do exactly that three weeks ago. So yesterday afternoon, university officials were surprised to see their beloved mascot on those towels, Ts and uniforms, especially since they hadn’t been promised a take of the profits. Zarnstorff attributes the error to a miscommunication and says they are retroactively working to secure their cut of the cash.
“AEG Live’s representative acknowledged the mistake and the ‘need to make this right’ with the university,” he says. “The university is working to resolve this amicably with AEG Live and Bravado in a timely manner, but is expected to receive its full trademark royalties (12–14 percent) on any sales with that particular graphic.”
According to Zarnstorff, these royalties support scholarships, endowments and student programs. At press time, an official with The Rolling Stones was not aware of the mistake and was seeking comment from the band’s merchandiser and promoter.