The Beastie Boys have taken a firm stance throughout their career on not allowing companies to use their music for advertising purposes. Just a few years ago they sued Monster for using “Sabotage,” “So Whatcha Want,” and “Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun” in an ad campaign. Now they're at odds with a San Francisco-area start-up who have parodied Beastie Boys' 1986 record "Girls" to promote their toy company.
The parody, which can be viewed above, was created by GoldieBlox. They fashion themselves as a company who "believe there are a million girls out there who are engineers. They just might not know it yet. We think GoldieBlox can show them the way." The video follows by utilizing toys and logic for some pretty innovative and entertaining visuals.
The Beastie Boys have responded to the "Girls" parody with an open letter that also draws on their recent encounter with the company. According to Mike D and Ad-Rock, the two surviving members of the group, they reached out to GoldieBlox last week and requested the video be taken down. GoldieBlox responded by suing the Beastie Boys and also claimed they "created its parody video specifically to comment on the Beastie Boys song, and to further the company’s goal to break down gender stereotypes.” You can read Beastie Boys' open letter below.
Like many of the millions of people who have seen your toy commercial “GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg & the Beastie Boys,” we were very impressed by the creativity and the message behind your ad.
We strongly support empowering young girls, breaking down gender stereotypes and igniting a passion for technology and engineering.
As creative as it is, make no mistake, your video is an advertisement that is designed to sell a product, and long ago, we made a conscious decision not to permit our music and/or name to be used in product ads.
When we tried to simply ask how and why our song “Girls” had been used in your ad without our permission, YOU sued US.