April Fools' Day Greetings
By William M. Borchard
Trademarks are important to us, and we usually take them seriously. But some trademark owners have displayed a brave sense of humor on April 1 in making fun of their own valuable marks and products. You may not have seen these announcements which were put out by the companies themselves. We hope they amuse you. In any case, they remind us that we should not necessarily believe everything we read.
1. Taco Bell Buys the Liberty Bell
Taco Bell announced in 1996 that the fast food chain had agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, which would then be called the “Taco Liberty Bell” and would divide its time between Philadelphia and the Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, California. When questioned by a reporter, White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry quipped that, as part of its ongoing privatization efforts, “Ford Motor Co. is joining today in an effort to refurbish the Lincoln Memorial. It will be the Lincoln Mercury Memorial.”
2. Burger King Announces the Left-Handed Whopper
Burger King announced in 1998 that it was introducing a new menu item, a “Left-handed Whopper” specially designed by rotating all condiments 180 degrees.
3. Lululemon Announces Spray-on Toga Pants
Jimmy Kimmel announced in 2014 that Lululemon was introducing spray-on yoga pants. Lululemon jumped on the bandwagon saying that that the pants’ fabric “fits like a second skin, with a ‘seamless construction’ that keeps you comfortable.” However, the company also said they were sold out for $1,200 a can.
4. Qantas Airlines is renamed Quantas
Qantas, the Australian airline, announced in 2015 that it was finally adding a “u” to its name and renaming its airline Quantas “because after all, it’s all about ‘u’, the traveller.”
5. Cardboard Plastic virtual reality headset
A large technology company announced in 2016 "the world's first actual reality headset." It was called the “Cardboard Plastic” virtual reality headset, and it looked something like this photo being clear in front and on the sides. The company said it “combines everything you love about virtual reality headsets with everything you love about reality.” “A device that lets you see things the way you truly see them and experience the world your way” in 4 dimensions, with 360 degree spatially accurate sound and 20/20 resolution.
6. Amazon Echo feature for pets
Amazon announced in 2017 the Petlexa feature of the Amazon Echo, compatible with both feline and canine operating systems. Household animals could communicate with Alexa, just like human consumers do, to track their steps, play their music, watch animal films, activate an automatic ball thrower or even order food. You can see a promotional video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdhxzqkvkZw.
While hoaxes are ways for companies to exhibit creativity and humor, be assured that our firm’s law practice remains steadfastly anchored in reality, truth and practicality . . . as well as creativity!