The Duck Dynasty reality show became a quick and solid hit series in 2013. It seemed to touch that part of the public that wasn't the usual "Hollywood-loving" crowd. Hunters, rednecks, down-home country folks - at last they had a reality show that was more "their" reality. But then Phil Robertson made those controversial statements in a GQ magazine interview that just weren't "politically correct." His remarks were considered defamatory by some people regarding homosexuals, African Americans and Muslims. Some others, though, felt he was just speaking his mind with no malice intended.
Will it affect Duck Dynasty's merchandising royalties? That is still to be decided, but there are still a lot of fans out there. The Duck Commander company, which started the family's success, sells duck calls, and it was their popularity that got the family noticed. They became wealthy from the sale of these items before signing a contract with A&E for the Duck Dynasty reality show. With loyal followers of their duck call products, at least that merchandise will probably not affect their brand's royalty accounting much.
Other merchandise carrying their brand includes action figures, video games, DVDs, clothes, rugs, coolers, hats and even bedding. They are sold at stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Cabela's and even Cracker Barrel. The latter restaurant/retailer pulled the products from their shelves and then replaced them per customer requests. Only time will tell if the products retain their popularity.
The jury is also still out on whether Robertson's remarks will affect their merchandise contracts down the road. Certainly, just as some are loyal followers of the now-famous cast, there are many people who were offended by Robertson's statements. They could protest by boycotting not only the show, but the products and possibly stores carrying Duck Dynasty propaganda and merchandise.
Merchandising contracts protect the brand labels on merchandise. Los Angeles attorneys can ensure that any negotiations or litigation in regards to the Duck Dynasty brand are per the terms of service in the merchandising contracts. Any unauthorized use of the brand may be subject to litigation.
Source: money.cnn.com, "Duck Dynasty is a retail powerhouse" Aaron Smith, Dec. 17, 2013