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trademark wars

Trademark Watch: Taylor Swift, Apple, Spanx and more

Posted by Nicole Briggs on September 19, 2014 06:29 PM

By Nicole Briggs and Courtney Cantor Sohn

Taylor Swift gets unlucky in law with “Lucky 13”: America's sweetheart and her besties at American Greetings are battling it out in the courtroom with California-based Blue Sphere Inc. over trademark infringement and unfair competition for use of the name “Lucky 13,” which AG used for a Swiftian sweepstakes promotion. Blue Sphere owns a company called Lucky 13, and holds registered trademarks bearing the name for clothing, jewelry and paper products. The judge dismissed Swift and AG’s singing for summary judgment, so the case will move forward, and in a Swift-like way, she’ll probably just “shake it off, shake it off.”

Apple keeps USPTO busy: Between filing trademark applications for Apple Watch and Apple Pay, and patents for CarPlay, Touch ID and Deep Audio among others, Apple has been busy on the IP front. Apple Watch and Apple Pay came as a surprise, as the media-coined names “iWatch” and “iPay” never came to fruition. And yet, even though Apple Watch and Apple Pay are descriptive of the goods and services with which they seek registration, a no-no in the trademark registration world, they just may be able to see it through. By filing for design mark with their Apple logo, and disclaiming any right to use the words “PAY” or “WATCH,” they have added a distinction to the marks.Continue reading...

brand inspiration

Hyundai, Diehard, Even 'Carrie' Hope Their Marketing Memes Last as Long as the Undead

Posted by Dale Buss on October 18, 2013 05:43 PM

The zombie marketing meme seems to be lasting as long as the creatures themselves. Witness the unexpiring hookup between Hyundai USA and The Walking Dead, and a new campaign by—who else?—Diehard Batteries as the latest examples.

Maybe Sears learned something from its zombie-related marketing effort on behalf of its store brand three years ago. In any event, its clever new ad features a couple in distress, the requisite zombie horde, and an unlikely hero: the battery that starts the getaway truck presumably after years of sitting idle.

Meanwhile, Hyundai now has committed to an endless relationship with the hit zombie series The Walking Dead, which started its new season on AMC last weekend as the most popular show on US cable television.Continue reading...

sip on this

Solixir Enlists 'Working Dead' in Chicago for Energy Drink Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on April 8, 2013 10:38 AM

There's nothing "new" about either aspect of Solixir energy drinks' product line or advertising campaign, but the Chicago-based beverage startup has created an original mashup of functional drinks and zombie-based marketing.

Solixir's four situation-specific formulas are Restore (for immune support), Think (for mental acuity), Relax and Awaken (for a "gentle" energy boost). It becomes the umpteenth beverage brand, ranging from startups to Fortune 500 behemoths, that lately have tried to snare American consumers with the promise of providing just the right two-ounce elixir for whatever nutritional or life challenge or circumstance that is facing them at a particular moment.

At the same time, basing a marketing campaign on zombie chic is like beating a dead ... well, whatever. As noted over the weekend by the Wall Street Journal, "interest in flesh-eating ghouls has far outstripped popular enthusiasm for vampires, wizards and hobbits." Even the federal government is using zombies to market these days in the wake of the mammoth success of AMC's The Walking Dead, buzz for the coming movie World War Z and other exemplars of the meme. And, of course, there's Zombie Blood and Zombie Jerky.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Zombie Branding: Grain Belt Rises From Dead with Brain Belt Beer

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 16, 2012 11:02 AM

The Zombie Pub Crawl this year was shooting for a Guinness record. The event, in its eighth year, has grown from a disorganized group of 150 "zombies" traipsing between Minneapolis-St. Paul bars to a 2011 attendance record of 30,000. It is billed as "a cross between Mardi Gras and a George Romero movie."

And this year, local brewer August Schell produced an exclusive brew for the local undead, "Brain Belt," gleefully ripping the heart (in a loving way) in one of America's beer-savvier heartland states, and tapping into the ongoing love affair between marketers and zombies.Continue reading...

brand of crazy

Gun Brands' Zombie Marketing Raise Hackles

Posted by Abe Sauer on November 1, 2011 04:01 PM

The latest brand to get into the "zombie" branding fad is gunmaker Ruger.

No kidding. Billed as "The Zombie Slayer," the Ruger LCP 380 ACP retails for around $460 and features neon green "Zombie Slayer" and "LCP Z" with a red slash branded on the side of the gun. The "Zombie Slayer" serial number prefixes are "ZOM," natch. For added quirk, the Ruger Zombie Slayer package includes the gun, case and lock accessories, and a copy of the book The Zombie Survival Guide.

Gun enthusiasts immediately ridiculed the stunt, leading some to question if Ruger's popular limited edition program is just lurching forward like the walking undead it's trying to cash in on.Continue reading...

viral marketing

Zombie Sears: Retailer Pits Craftsman vs Undead for Halloween

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 26, 2011 05:05 PM

The week before Halloween is always zombie week. This time last year, retailer Sears hit it big with a successful zombification campaign that turned the Sears website into a zombie-infiltrated .com of the walking undead, including the "Blue Zombie Crew, your trusty undead experts."

Emboldened, the retailer is back this year with an even bigger zombie Halloween campaign, this time enlisting its Craftsman tools brand. And, of course, braaaiiiiinnnnnssssss!Continue reading...

brand mascots

Using Zombie Pitchmen Doesn't Take Braiiiiiiiinssss

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 7, 2011 12:00 PM

A few weeks ago, the Web was abuzz with news of the Center for Disease Control's "zombie apocalypse preparedness" marketing stunt to promote hurricane preparation in an amusing fashion. The stunt went so viral that it crashed the servers, revealing just how unprepared the CDC itself was.

Now, a fast-on-the-uptake author is using the CDC's zombie viral marketing to do a bit of zombie guerrilla marketing of his own.Continue reading...

viral marketing

Zombies Ate My Marketing Plan: CDC Stunt Runs Amok

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 19, 2011 06:00 PM

In a genius publicity move, the Center for Disease Control tweeted about its zombie readiness protocol.

The link goes to a CDC page "Social Media: Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse," which notes the history of zombies, what your emergency preparedness kit should contain, and the comforting notion that "If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation."

It was a tongue-in-cheek bit of marketing that unexpectedly bit the CDC in a huge (unexpected) way.Continue reading...

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