Friday, May 27, 2011

Disney drops plans to trademark "SEAL Team 6"

Just to close the loop on this one, having written about it earlier in the month, I'm pleased to report that the Walt Disney Company announced yesterday that it was going to withdraw its application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to be granted exclusive rights to use the term "SEAL Team 6" on a range of items that would include clothing and games.

SEAL Team 6 was of course the military outfit responsible for finding and killing Osama bin Laden. Just a couple of days after the raid some genius in the Disney marketing department thought it might be a fine idea to cheapen that name by putting it on merchandise.

The quote from Disney that accompanied their decision was that they pulled the application "out of deference to the Navy."

According to a Wall Street Journal report:

Navy officers privately expressed relief Wednesday that the company had chosen to retract its application, saving the organization from a long trademark battle.

The Navy first fired back at Disney with their own filing for trademarks on the phrases "SEAL Team" and "Navy SEALs," on May 13, several days after Disney's application.

I will say that I don't have a fancy MBA in marketing from one them there prestigious Ivy League schools, or from any school for that matter, but I kind of thought that this idea was a stinker from the moment I heard it. Seriously. The Disney organization has to be one of the greatest marketing success stories in the history of capitalism. How could they have been so tone deaf?

And the idea of doing battle in court with the Navy, after they emerged as national heroes for taking out bin Laden, that would have played really well in the press. I'm pretty sure Mickey would have been out of work in short order if something like that were to have happened.

Here's the topper:

Disney's intentions were misunderstood, according to a person familiar with the entertainment company's plans. Disney, which owns the ABC television network, is considering a TV show about an elite squad, similiar to other fictional drama about real-life arms of the military, such as "NCIS" and "JAG."

Yeah, right. Looks to me like this mess got handed from Disney's marketing department to its public relations department in a hurry. The whole thing is positively goofy. (Sorry for that one, but I had to).

(Cross-posted to Lippmann's Ghost.)

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