Marketers settle with Hell's Angels over use of 'death head' logo

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Nov 8 2010

Hellsangels

I don't know what it takes to get into the Hells Angels (do I even want to?), but one thing's for sure: Buying a pricey clutch purse or pashmina from Saks Fifth Avenue does not make you part of the club. BrandFreak recently wrote about a lawsuit filed by the outlaw biker gang against Alexander McQueen, Saks and Zappos.com for copyright infringement. It seems the trio have been selling jewelry, dresses and other fashionable goodies embellished with the "death head" skull logo. That's a no-no, says the Angels' lawyer, because it's a protected trademark, one that the members-only motorcycle gang has been using for decades. The three marketers, perhaps realizing they'd pissed off some big bruisers, settled the case immediately by pulling all of the merchandise and recalling any that's already been sold. (Guess those pieces will be collector's items soon, though who'd have the guts to wear them?) It's a matter of exclusivity, says Angles attorney Fritz Clapp, where membership means more than "someone who bought a $495 ring." Upper East Siders, you'll have to get your rough-and-tumble fix elsewhere.

TNT's 'The Closer' bags Zappos for season premiere promo

By T.L. Stanley on Thu Jul 8 2010

ABagLikeBrendaSweepstakes_650x250_0 Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson of TNT's The Closer totes a bunch of stuff around in her giant black purse—badge, gun, handcuffs, rap sheets, snack cakes, sometimes a pet cat. If you had a bag that big, you might toss in the kitchen sink, too. That idiosyncratic detail is anchoring a promotion between the cop show and Zappos will give fans the chance to win "A Bag Like Brenda's" and play an online game, "What's in Brenda's Bag?" to hype the new season of the cable drama, launching Monday. In addition to the purse, someone will win a trip to Los Angeles, a Warner Bros. tour, Southern comfort food dinners and other VIP perks. The promo will get exposure via e-newsletters, banners, social media, package inserts and e-mail blasts. A second advertiser-supported promo, with American Greetings, has created Closer-themed e-cards, notably a free one that features Johnson (played by Kyra Sedgwick) spouting her down-home trademark phrase, "Thank Yew." Other characters and quote-worthy phrases will be included in the e-card line. The marketer will tout the partnership in its digital communications and across its family of sites like Bluemountain.com and Egreetings.com.

Have Zappos and Mullen been hanging with Fandango puppets?

Posted on Fri Mar 5 2010

Zappos

After getting some hurtful comments for pointing out similarities between that State Farm-sponsored OK Go video and the Honda "Cog" ad (yes, I know, they both ripped off Rube Goldberg), I'm loathe to cover similar ground. But hey, somebody has to, right? Mullen's new campaign for online retailer Zappos, breaking this Monday, featuring puppets mouthing the words of actual customer-service calls from Zappos employees—doesn't it seem a bit familiar? Yes, I'm thinking of Amoeba's mid-2000s ads for movie ticket site Fandango. Recall, if you will, that those ads also showed puppets (in this case, crude ones fabricated from brown paper bags) synched with the voices of consumers explaining why they liked the service. (The campaign eventually evolved to spoof Bollywood musicals.) Now that I've spoiled the party, let it rip, commenters! Just don't be crank yankers about it.

—Posted by Todd Wasserman


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