nakedcowboym%26m.jpgTimes Square fixture The Naked Cowboy (Robert Burck) is singing a litigious song these days against Mars Inc., maker of M&M candies. He is claiming that the company is infringing on his trademark, i.e. singing in tighty-whities, cowboy boots and a Stetson, with a six string slung on his shoulder. Burck wants $6 million after the company started broadcasting a film on a billboard screen in Times Square showing anthropomorphic M&Ms re-enacting famous scenes, structures, and places around NYC. A blue peanut M&M is shown in briefs, boots, a hat, and strumming a guitar while singing in Times Square.

At first, Burck was flattered by the imitation, but slowly began to think that Mars Inc. was simply leeching off a brand that he had spent years building, to much ridicule at first. Burck does not discount at all the value of the brand his buff busking represents. He told the Post, “All I’ve got is my underwear. It’s the most brilliant thing that’s ever been created from a marketing perspective. You can’t stop it.

A 2004 Gothamist interview with The Naked Cowboy demonstrates that Burck has a very strong sense of commitment to himself. "All men, women, and children worldwide love the Naked Cowboy but since becoming NYC's third-rated tourist attraction, following the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, I have the super-human responsibility to be in Times Square every day."