As we have discussed before, look-for advertising is a powerful tool in developing non-traditional trademark rights in subject matter such as single color marks. Dan discussed it here, in connection with the equivalent of look-for advertising that doesn’t actually use the clunky words "look for," but accomplishes the same purpose, and I previously discussed ad-nauseam the paradox of look-for advertising in connection with protection of non-traditional brands and trademarks, here.
When the would-be non-traditional brand owner is providing services, as opposed to making and selling widgets, it appears that a pattern is developing of highlighting the color of the service provider’s uniform in a tagline or slogan. This may very well be an effective strategy or tool that satisfies both trademark and marketing types. Perhaps the leading example of using words and taglines or slogans to create non-verbal exclusive service mark rights in a single color is UPS’ "What Can Brown Do For You?" tagline.
It appears that Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, known as America’s Friendliest Airport, is working toward creating non-traditional service mark rights in the color purple:
They refrain from using the actual words "look-for" in the billboard advertisements, but they are more direct in their website ad copy:
Look for purple the next time you are at the Airport. Sky Harbor Navigators are a group of friendly volunteers whose mission is to make your trip through Sky Harbor Airport faster, easier, and more enjoyable. Navigators provide directions, information, and friendly assistance. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport began the Navigator program in November 2000 with the first class of 20 volunteers. Today, there are over 300 Navigators who serve in all three of the Airport’s terminals and in the Rental Car Center.
The purple uniform is synonymous with a smile, a caring heart and a helping hand. Let purple be your guide!
Here is Lowe’s version of "look-for" advertising for the color red that doesn’t use the magic words to promote its gardening center services:
In my experience some marketers bristle at using the magic words "look-for" — "it’s just too clunky." Done right, with graceful and early collaboration between legal and marketing types, I continue to believe the legal benefits of "look-for" advertising can be obtained without being bound to those magic words.
If you are aware of any other good campaigns or examples that accomplish the goal of communicating to consumers that the brand owner views a single color or some other feature as serving a distinctive non-traditional trademark function without using the words "look-for," please share them here.