Thursday, September 17, 2009

Halloween Characters (and Thoughts About Smokey)

Dear Rich: We are producing a Halloween attraction next month and one of the attractions for younger children is our Concourse of Characters which is photo ops with certain costumed characters. I was wanting to know if we were allowed to have such characters as a Batman and princesses, dare I say Disney princesses, a Mickey and Minnie or even a Sponge Bob costumed character there for photo ops. Have a spooky day! We've said it many times before but like Smokey the Bear, the Dear Rich Staff never tires of repeating our mantra: big companies that own licensed characters don't like it when people make money off unauthorized reproductions. If they find out about your use, they'll hassle you. Here are several posts with more detailed analysis on this issue.
The Smokey Thing ... And speaking of licensed characters, we should revise our statement that Smokey the Bear sends out the same repetitive mantra. Actually, the emphasis in the old motto has shifted over time and was eventually shortened to a more succinct and guilt-driven message. Now that Smokey is entitled to Social Security, he's debuted a more timely and perhaps more difficult to discern catchphrase, "Get Your Smokey On." It seems an unfortunate choice: the youthful target audience probably considers the phraseology out of date and the older demographic is likely bewildered (Is Smokey really something you "get on"? -- Maybe yes!) In any case we're not the ones to question a bear that apparently has Wifi in the woods,  -- what do you think?