DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Tag Archives: Billboard Ads

What Are You Thinking, Coke Zero?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB

  The above advertising billboard is plastered all over the Twin Cities at the moment, and it got me thinking, so here I am, once again, writing about Coke Zero, remember this can? Coke obtained a favorable decision from the TTAB early last year, ruling that ZERO is not generic for a soft drink category,… Continue Reading

Joust Do It? A New Form of Nike Battle Cry?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

By now, you’re familiar with my enjoyment in capturing and sharing new billboard signage that hits the streets of the Twin Cities. Question, what tagline might have inspired this one? Was the Minnesota Renaissance Festival inspired by Nike’s famous “Just Do It” tagline? Almost four years ago now, we noted — in this gem from… Continue Reading

Absolut Apologies, Comparisons, Truncations

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fair Use, False Advertising, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, Truncation

It has been a while since a billboard campaign has caught my interest and attention, but the currently running Absolut Goes Dark ads are an exception worth noting: Isn’t it interesting — at least in this context — how the simple references to Jack, Johnnie, and Jim, draw an obvious comparison to the distilled spirits… Continue Reading

Top Ten Questions About Rapala Minnocchio

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, False Advertising, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

In typical DuetsBlog tradition, here is Rapala’s 2015 billboard for the fishing opener, albeit a few weeks late: I’ll have to admit, I like the telescoped Minnocchio word, and the consistent graphic display from past years, but my head is feeling pretty wooden at the moment, so I need your help, because I’m totally stumped… Continue Reading

I’m Gumby Dammit — A Flexible Trademark?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, USPTO

The Minnesota History Center is currently promoting its Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s exhibit — my favorite promotional billboard is the one captured above, featuring none other than Gumby. I can still remember my Gumby toy and watching the Gumby Show as a young child along with the Davey & Goliath television series, both… Continue Reading

Owning a New Look Through Advertisements

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on the importance of “look for” advertising when a brand owner wants to legally own a non-traditional trademark like a single color, or perhaps the shape of a product, or even product packaging or containers, among other potential non-traditional marks. So, when I discovered three billboard ads within… Continue Reading

When Less is More: Bits and Pieces of Brands

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Famous Marks, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks, Truncation

There is no point to spending money on advertising if those experiencing it don’t understand who’s communicating about what brand, right? So, as drivers quickly pass by this attractive roadside billboard sign, how do they know who put out the ad? There must be a brand signature, right? Certainly there can be no signature or source-identifying quality in the… Continue Reading

This Mac Needs a Knife Too

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, Truncation, USPTO

Louis Armstrong first performed “Mack the Knife” in 1956, a year later McDonald’s introduced the Big Mac, and then, Bobby Darin’s version of “Mack the Knife” became a chart-topper in 1959. So, these events were all before my time, but I’m left wondering if there was any connection between them, back in the day, or whether they were an unrelated coincidence… Continue Reading

The Hairy Underside of the Butt-Billboard Campaign

Posted in Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts

– James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Not long ago, Steve Baird posted a commentary on a colonoscopy campaign that featured attention-getting, humorous (to some) butt jokes. I liked ‘em. Thought they were clever and effective. Beyond making me think of my guts, though, they also brought to mind a conversation I had with a mentor a… Continue Reading

Another Nominative Fair Use Example?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Food, Marketing, Social Media, Social Networking, Trademarks

Twitter seems to be going strong, despite early questions about whether it would ever shed the notion of being a waste of time, as evidenced by this currently running billboard ad: To the extent this billboard looks familiar (admittedly a more diminutive glass here), you might recall my questions about it three years ago: Marketing Nirvana… Continue Reading

Uncomfortable Medical Advertisements

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, SoapBox

The colonoscopy has been the butt of jokes among medical procedures for a long time, but it is actually no laughing matter, as the Minnesota Department of Health’s Sage Scopes graphic billboard campaign reveals: Perhaps the thinking behind the uncomfortable spectacle ads is to put aside embarrassment of the topic with an in-your-face campaign designed to shock Minnesotans… Continue Reading

McDonald’s Trade Dress? State Farm is There.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks

Passing by a roadside billboard recently (below is a miniature version I found in the Minneapolis skyway system), my first thought was, wow, McDonald’s is getting into the juicy lucy business: Until more focus revealed that State Farm Insurance is the one behind the ad. Look familiar? No doubt burgers and car insurance are totally different lines of business and… Continue Reading

Crushing a Perfectly Good Brand Name?

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Remember how important it is to stay on the right side of the suggestive/descriptive line when it comes to making proper use of a brand name? We have cautioned about the danger of “taking a suggestive name, mark, or tag-line, and using it descriptively in a sentence on labels, packaging, ad copy, or the Internet,” because… Continue Reading

Bordering on Logos (Again)

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Technology, Trademarks

By now, you must know, I’m a sucker for billboard ads. I really love to notice, study, comment on, and critique them, especially when there is an opportunity for some trademark storytelling. This one for the Hampton Inn & Suites brand does not disappoint. It appears that an IP holding company for Hilton, HLT Domestic… Continue Reading

Using Old Starsky and Hutch to Sell New Furniture?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Infringement, Marketing, Television, Trademarks

There is a new billboard advertisement on the scene in Minneapolis, Minnesota, complete with multiple meanings and at least one obvious third party brand reference. Multiple meanings because I suspect there may be a generational divide on the obvious Starsky and Hutch brand reference (trademark data of owner Columbia Pictures can be found here, here, and… Continue Reading

Mark Zuckerberg Means What?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, False Advertising, Marketing, Social Networking

This billboard ad has been running in the Twin Cities for a while now, promoting a local car dealership who is very proud of its website: Does anyone seriously believe that Mark Zuckerberg — the twenty-seven year old president, chief executive officer, and co-creator of the Facebook social networking site — is jealous of the morries.com website?… Continue Reading

Rapala Taunts a Monster?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Happy Mother’s Day!  So, it’s time again to talk a little fishing billboard branding, I guess. We have enjoyed discussing Rapala billboard ads over the last couple of years, the “attracting cats” billboard, the “More hits than Google” billboard, the “Whudjagiddumon” billboard, and now the “Do you believe in monsters?” billboard. Note the upper case “G”… Continue Reading

New Billboard Advertiser Needed?

Posted in Advertising, Marketing

The answer is, apparently not. This falls under the category of, some things aren’t what they seem to be, or maybe they are just that, so let me try to explain. Blog posts don’t always turn out the way you might think at the start, and this one is a perfect example of how they can… Continue Reading

The Meaning of “Readily Identified” in Trademark Nominative Fair Use

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks

We’ve talked a lot about the nominative fair use of trademarks. Remember the Cars.com billboard that used the Minnesota Twins name as brand bait? We had some discussion in the comments, where I said this about the Cars.com ad: Although the billboard doesn’t use the Twins script or logo, I still believe the stronger argument… Continue Reading