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 here). I further suspect that the generational divide makes the reference all that more attractive given its wider scope and reach.

For baby boomers this billboard probably calls to mind the original 70s television cop series featuring Paul Michael Glaser as David Starsky and David Soul as Kenneth “Hutch” Hutchinson:












And, let’s not forget about Huggy Bear — the police snitch who loved the phrase Jive Turkey. What I had forgotten about the series is that David Soul’s character, Hutch, was the “quiet, intellectual Minnesotan,” in constrast to Paul Michael Glaser’s Starsky character, the “streetwise Brooklyn native.” So, the Minnesota-based furniture seller may be playing on that connection too.

However, non-baby-boomer furniture shoppers probably have these images in mind, along with Owen Wilson (as Hutch), Ben Stiller (as Starsky), and Snoop Dogg (as Huggy Bear):













Now, I seriously doubt that Schneiderman’s average consumer is expecting to meet David Soul or Owen Wilson on their next shopping visit, given the billboard’s “plenty of Hutch” reference, but then again, let’s not forget that the Lanham Act protects the “least sophisticated potential consumer” under the likelihood of confusion test of trademark infringement.