Last week University of South Florida VP and Chief Marketing Officer Joe Hice was the keynote speaker at an event titled “A Future Without Limits- Disruptive Marketing and the USF Rebrand Story” put together by the Tampa Bay chapter of the American Marketing Association.
On its face, this is a terrible look for Hice and USF as he talks about the failed USF rebrand that cost the university at minimum $2 million—the final number wasn’t readily available.
Through the entire doomed process of this rebrand, Hice and USF have told half-truths at best, and flat-out lies at worst (well documented here and here). So it’s no surprise Hice was up to his old tricks again during his appearance at The Columbia on September 19.
The Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Lauren Coffey was at the event and documented the questions and answers from the audience in attendance to Hice. Here’s where Hice’s continued deceit of verifiable facts gets in the way of his fantastical story of “BRAND DISRUPTION”
This is a question from the audience:
In what ways did you work with Merrill Lynch?
We reached out to Merrill Lynch, our legal team said, ‘Do you have any concerns?’ and they said, ‘It doesn’t look anything like our bull.’ We did our homework.
This is all true except for the part where Merrill Lynch actually responded and said that.
The Daily Stampede did a public records request on any “email/text, and any other form of communication records between the university, Joe Hice, general counsel, and Merrill Lynch regard the now-defunct logo change.”
The way your request is worded, there are no responsive records. However, I can share with you the due diligence process utilized by USF. USF Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Joe Hice initially approached USF’s Office of General Counsel about pursuing trademark protection for the new bull logo. USF OGC worked with USF Patents & Licensing and outside legal counsel to analyze the likelihood of success and also file for the trademark. No entity, including Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, opposed the filing during the trademark registration process.
Additionally, USF sought and received a copyright registration on the mark. The federal government approved the copyright registration, meaning the government found it to be original enough to afford it registered protection
When TDS brought up the quote from the TBBJ story, USF responded with:
The Tampa Bay Business Journal quotes Joe from an audience Q&A after a presentation he delivered last week. Joe’s response to a question from the audience referred to the trademark registration process and the fact that no entities responded to the filing opposing USF’s use of the new bull logo. Through the process, Merrill Lynch and other entities have a period of time to oppose the filing, but there was no opposition in this case.
TDS asked USF if a non-response was the same as saying “They said it looks nothing like our bull.” and have no received an answer to that question.
All Hice had to say was “We reached out to Merrill Lynch to see if they objected, they didn’t respond so we went ahead with the logo in its current state.”
But he didn’t.
He made it look like USF and Merrill Lynch had an actual conversation about the logo and they agreed that it was different, which wasn’t the case at all.
It’s been one gaffe after another with Hice since he became the VP and CMO at USF and you’d think a guy making $280,000 a year would be better at his job.
Yet, here we are.