In the airport, they had some plush toys. Including some airplanes that were marked NorthWest Airlines. NWA was, of course, swallowed up by Delta a couple of years ago. This lead me to wonder, did the plus toys have NWA’s logo and all despite the fact that it no longer exists, or because it no longer exists?

I don’t know what the merchandising rights on such things are. Do the airlines pay to have the toys made, or do the doys pay the airlines for use of their logo and so on. Is it advertising, or is it merchandise?

If it’s merchandise, then I would think that it would probably cost less to use the NWA logo than Delta’s logo, since NWA is defunct and therefore demand is low. But if it’s merchandise, why pay anybody? Why not just make something up? A three year old kid wouldn’t care.

Which makes me think its advertising, and that in Delta pay in fact be paying to put their logo there. If one of the main goals in advertising is to keep a brand in our consciousness, toys aren’t a bad way of doing that. On the other hand, it’s been two years since NWA went away. Why is that there?

Tangentially, the distinction between advertising and merchanising was one of the main factors in Alan Moore’s big break from DC comics many years ago. He was supposed to get a cut of any Watchmen merchandising, but DC simply classified just about everything it sold with Watchmen on it (except the comic book, of course) as “advertising.”


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5 Responses to Advertising vs Merchandising

  1. Peter says:

    I would imagine that the airline paid the toymaker to add its logo. As you point out, from the child’s point of view (and likely the parent’s too) the use of an authentic airline logo doesn’t matter.

  2. trumwill says:

    Yeah, I tend to think it advertising. It’s curious that there are still NWA ones available, though. It almost suggests that parents go with existing airlines. Maybe choosing the one of the airline that they’re flying. “See, Junior, it says Delta there, just like it says on the plane over there!”

  3. Mike Hunt says:

    Do they have Hess Trucks where you are?

    George Carlin alwyas thought it was silly that people wore clothing with logos on it. After all, they should PAY you to wear it, since you are a walking billboard.

    Having said that, it is disconcerting to watch a TV show where they don’t want to give free advertising to products, so everything is generic. It takes me out of the show.

    Alan Moore’s big break from DC comics many years ago.

    Forrest Gump won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1994. Why no sequel? After all, the book had a sequel.

    It is because Winston Groom, the author of the book, sold the rights to Paramount for $350K plus 3 percent of the profits. In true Hollywood style, Paramount claimed the movie didn’t make any profits…

    As an aside, when a movie wins the Oscar for Best Picture, the actual trophy goes to the producers. One of the producers was Steve Tisch, who is now a co-owner of the New York Giants, making him the only person to win both an Oscar and a Super Bowl ring…

  4. trumwill says:

    Never heard of Hess Trucks.

    I understand the arguments against logos, but so long as the logo is something you identify with, there are actually benefits. Maybe I should write a post on it.

    Having said that, it is disconcerting to watch a TV show where they don’t want to give free advertising to products, so everything is generic. It takes me out of the show.

    I don’t think it’s just a matter of free advertising. I think that if they use a logo that isn’t theirs, they’re guilty of trademark violation.

    I remember in commentary on The Shield where they were talking about how they had to cut out a scene because the actor playing the role happened to be wearing a shirt with a logo on it. I think that there are things that they can do (for instance, you can say that a character went to Harvard or something), but I think it’s a potentially dangerous area.

    This actually touches on a post that should be coming up soon.

    That’s interesting about Forrest Gump. I didn’t know about it.

  5. Mike Hunt says:

    Hess is a regional chain of gas stations. I just didn’t know how far-flung the region was.

    Anyway, every year at Xmas they would sell the Hess Truck to its customers. It was just a toy truck painted with the Hess logo and painted in their colors of green and white.

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