People Behind “Dude With Sign” Account Sue Over Stolen Memes


@dudewithsign is a popular Instagram account that features a tall man in sunglasses holding up a cardboard sign in various public places. Except instead of a serious protest message, the sign has a funny aphorism about modern life, like “Who TF is writing Yelp reviews” or “You can cold plunge without telling everyone.”

The eponymous dude is Seth Phillips, an employee of Jerry Media, a social media marketing agency founded by Elliot Tebele of the popular Instagram meme account @fuckjerry.

Tebele originally came up with the concept of holding up a protest sign with a funny phrase, but only made a few Instagram posts using it. Later on, Phillips reinvigorated the idea and it caught on — the Instagram account now has 8 million followers and does advertisements for brands such as Wingstop, CVS, Dunkin’, and more in which he holds up funny signs related to the brand or product (BuzzFeed once hired Phillips to hold up a custom sign at an event).

FJerry and its other affiliate businesses have filed at least seven lawsuits since November 2022 against brands that allegedly used the Dude With Sign image without permission to post memes to their brand social media accounts. 

Brands that were sent lawsuits include Avid, a tech company; All Access Dietetics, a training program for dieticians; Itchy, a psoriasis treatment; BruMate, a thermos cup company; RQ Insurance, and Snak Club. All these brands posted versions of the Dude With Sign meme to their official Instagram accounts with the photo edited so that it appears Phillips was holding a sign with a message about their respective brands.