Jan
13
2010
Warhol Wannabe Busted for Gatorade Tiger "Unfaithful" Labels
By Stephanie Wei under General

When a US Food and Drug Administration agent asked Jason Kay why he switched the labels on Gatorade bottles and distributed them to stores, he casually responded that he considered it “pop art” and wanted to “get people talking about how stupid the whole thing with Tiger Woods is.”

So, logically, you do something stupid that warrants an investigation by federal authorities.

According to the police affidavit, acquired by the Smoking Gun, Kay bought 100 Gatorade bottles, removed the labels and replaced them with the Tiger Woods stickers he created, and placed them on store shelves himself. He described his method of using a photocopier and clear adhesive at Kinko’s as “old-school” — and even proudly provided the agent with the template and tally sheet entitled “Gatorade Run,” which indicated Kay had circulated approximately 67 bottles.

Prior to the home visit from the federal agent, Kay exchanged e-mails with a PepsiCo representative via an address he put on the bootleg labels. He pitched the idea of forming a partnership, where the company could “participate unofficially (while denying this connection) by providing support to the artist for travel and per diem in various cities.”

Now why should Gatorade participate? Because it would be “good for Gatorade and good for art.” Obviously!

Kay also told the agent he felt the company “should be happy because he was providing them with ‘positive press.’” When the agent informed him that his actions appeared to have been against federal law, Kay replied, “I didn’t think this was that big of a deal.”

Clearly. (It’s worth reading the full affidavit — I found it pretty entertaining.)

Too bad Gatorade nor the FDA shared the same opinion on his Factory-influenced prank. Now Kay faces criminal charges for introducing and delivering food that is adulterated or misbranded into interstate commerce; altering, mutilating or destructing a food label; and rendering material false or mislabeling of a consumer product with intent to cause serious injury to the business.

If convicted, he could spend up to five years in federal prison. But really, it sounds like he would benefit more from time in a mental institution. Well, at least he’s also getting what he wanted — international publicity and notoriety for showcasing “performance art at its finest!” I hope the effort was all worth it.