2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

trademark wars

New York Goes After Coffee Shop Over Famed I ♥ NY Logo

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 30, 2013 02:37 PM

For years, New York has been feeling the love from its "I ♥ NY" marketing initiative. The logo has been slapped on just about everything, from t-shirts and hats to snowglobes and shot glasses. However, there's one place the famed logo isn't welcome, according to an NYC coffee shop that received a cease-and-desist letter from the state's Department of Economic Development. 

The department contacted Everyman Espresso and asked the coffee shop to stop using its logo that consists of  “I (illustration of a coffee cup) NY” tattooed on a closed fist, according to The New York Times

The fist belongs to co-owner Sam Penix, who had the tattoo done in 2009. Now the shop has taken all the signs, T-shirts, mugs and onesies that had the logo emblazoned on the front down into the basement and told the agency that it would stop using the logo.Continue reading...

cocktail hour

All the News You Can Drink: Sam's 26.2 Boston Brew, Miami Heat Champagne and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 26, 2013 06:30 PM

Boston Beer Aims to Trademark "Boston Strong 26.2"

Boston Beer Company, the maker of Samuel Adams, has been brewing up a special beer, "26.2 Brew," for the Boston Marathon for years. Now that the marathon has taken on a wider social significance in the weeks after the bombings, the company would like to change the brew’s name to "Boston Strong 26.2 Brew" and has applied for a trademark, the Boston Globe reports.

The plan is to use money from the sale of the beer to help victims of the tragedy. Boston Beer says it won’t hog the trademark but allow other beverage companies to use it as well as long as they commit to giving 100 percent of profits to charity.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Brands Grapple for "Boston Strong" Trademark as Donations Stream In

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 26, 2013 03:37 PM

Two days after the Boston Marathon bombing, while the police were still trying to track down the perpetrators and the public was still reeling from the first major act of terrorism on American soil since 9/11, two companies were filing trademark applications for “Boston Strong.”

Custom T-shirt company Born Into It of Woburn, Mass., and an individual, Kerim Senkal, of Allston, Mass. both aimed to use “Boston Strong" on apparel and accessories, The Huffington Post reports.

Another related trademark application came from Boston Beer Co., the maker of Samuel Adams, which brews up an annual 26.2 Brew for the Marathon each year. The plan would be to rename the beer Boston Strong 26.2 with the idea that it would help raise money for victims of the tragedy, the Boston Globe reports. The company claims that it would allow other beverages to use the trademark as long as 100 percent of the money made all went to related charities.Continue reading...

social commerce

How TOMS Inspired a Generation of Socially-Conscious, Booming Businesses

Posted by Barry Silverstein on April 24, 2013 01:41 PM

Sometimes a brand blazes a trail, only to find itself outrun by the competition. 

Back in 2006, entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie, who made his name and a small fortune as a contestant on reality TV show, The Amazing Race, came up with a unique proposition for a new brand, TOMS Shoes. The business model: TOMS would donate a pair of shoes to a child who lived in poverty for every pair of shoes sold. The philanthropic concept quickly became a sensation that catapulted the company's brand awareness to superstar status.

Not surprisingly, other companies started to knock off the idea. The most egregious copycat has been a line of shoes called "BOBS" that Skechers introduced in 2010. BOBS not only look exactly like TOMS signature shoe, right down to the logo stitched on a visible exterior label, but Skechers also shamelessly followed TOMS' "one-for-one" model of giving away a pair of shoes for every pair sold.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Frito-Lay Loses Trademark Battle Over Popular Corn Chip

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 15, 2013 11:50 AM

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay Scoops Corn Chips may identify itself as “a unique combination of great taste and good fun rolled into one great snack,” but a jury in Texas has a few quibbles with just how unique its name is.

Frito-Lay North America came after Medallion Foods and Ralcorp Holdings for their Bowlz and Cupz chips that appeared in Walmarts and Krogers, respectively, around the time of this year’s Super Bowl, FoodProductDesign.com reports. Frito-Lay was not amused and wanted $4.5 million for their troubles as well as the disappearance of any products that come close to looking like Scoops.

After just five and a half hours, the 10-person jury ruled against Frito-Lay. “This was a very complicated trial, and we were fortunate to have an extremely smart jury that understood the issues and delivered a just verdict,” said John Ward, whose firm Ward & Smith helped represent Medallion, according to IPWatchdog.com. “This jury digested almost 40 pages of complex instructions and returned a verdict in our clients’ favor on all issues submitted.”Continue reading...

brands with balls

It's Official: 'Breastaurant' Trademarked by Texas Sports Bar

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 12, 2013 03:15 PM

Hooters may be the first place consumers think of when the term “breastaurants” comes up, but a Texas eatery is aiming to change that.

Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill, which features big-breasted gals in bikinis and short shorts serving up food, hula hooping, and, wait for it—jumping on a trampoline—has armed itself in the battle of mammary-obsessed food chains. Bikinis has trademarked the term “breastaurants” and God help anybody who tries to use it without their permission. 

Take that, Twin Peaks, Mugs N Jugs, Tilted Kilt and, most specifically, Hooters!Continue reading...

trademark wars

Close, But No Cigar: Cohiba Battles with US General Over Fabled Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 3, 2013 06:06 PM

It’s been in the hands of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and now it’s in the hands of a slew of lawyers. The Cuban Cohiba, considered for decades to be the nation’s best cigar and a symbol of high-end swank the world over, has been spending a fair amount of time in court over the last 16 years.

In that time, the issue has been between the General Cigar Co. and Cubatabaco, the Cuban state tobacco company. The pair have been battling over the cigar’s trademark in the United States. Recently, the U.S. Trademark and Appeal Board dismissed Cubatabaco’s petition that was trying to keep General from using the cohiba name in the United States, Cigar Aficionado reports.

That General won the latest round did not sit well with folks in Cuba, where the Havana Times headlined its story about the case with “Cuba’s Cohiba Trademark Theft Gets OK.”

There are, of course, two different cohibas.Continue reading...

campaign tactics

Axe Saves Face With Skincare Line as Brand Gets Ready to Head to Space

Posted by Dale Buss on April 3, 2013 01:02 PM

The idea of launching the Axe Face Line with a Facebook promotion obviously was too literal. So the Unilever brand is launching its new line of facial-care products instead with a "Facescore" campaign on Tumblr as a social face-off, supported by ads running on various media websites — and, of course, a presence on Facebook too.

In doing so, Axe is entering a segment of the men's care business of the first time — a more challenging territory than when it had a fairly singular focus on helping young guys simply smell great so they could attract hordes of women.

The launch of the Axe Face Line—including a face wash, shave gel, and post-shave hydrator in four variants—also gives the brand a chance to circle back to promoting Unilever's "Astronaut" marketing platform for the Axe brand (and Lynx brand, in certain territories) grand giveaway of 22 trips to space in 2015.

"Research has shown that a majority of guys don't use facial cleanser; they reach for bar soaps or shampoos or other things to wash their face," Mark Link, Axe US brand manager for Unilever, told brandchannel. "We're launching [the Face line] to address their skincare needs."Continue reading...

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