Friday, August 21, 2009

Ambusch marketing

Beer cans in college towns using college colors. The story notes that some colleges have complained on trademark grounds, because trademark law now is so expansive that teams can credibly claim an exclusive right to remind people of themselves. Whether from legal or PR fears, Anheuser-Busch says it will pull any campaign if a college formally protests. The real concern, which isn't about confusion, is that college students will be induced to consume more beer because of the free-riding on the warm fuzzy feelings associated with the teams. One concerned editorial in a school newspaper even warned of tarnishment if an LSU student did something dumb with a school-colors beer in hand. (Because I'm sure there'd be no effect on the school's reputation if the student did something dumb with a regular beer in hand.)

A representative of the University of Texas is quoted in the story saying that she wasn't concerned about the campaign because the colors were different enough to be distinguished. Well, that, and perhaps that longhorn is already out of the barn?

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