SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Zorro Productions claims Mars candy and the BBDO ad agency violated its trademark by using the caped crusader on a Halloween commercial for M&Ms. Zorro Productions says that while it is “unable to ascertain the full extent of the monetary damages it has suffered,” it estimates it at no less than $500,000.
Zorro claims Mars put its own M&M trademark on an actor dressed as the masked crusader for justice, and that this is “likely to confuse the public.”
Zorro Inc. is represented by Ross Libenson of Oakland.
Zorro, Spanish for The Fox, was created by Johnston McCulley in 1919. He is portrayed as a nobleman, Don Diego de la Vega, living in the Californio days, when modern-day California was a Spanish colony. In a black mask and cape, wielding a rapier and whip, Zorro outwits the cruel colonial masters and defends justice and the Californio way.
Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford filmed “The Mark of Zorro” in 1920, as the first movie for their new studio, United Artists. The movie began a Zorro craze, which was reignited, briefly, a generation later, when Disney created the Zorro TV show.
(“Out of the night, when the full moon is bright, comes the horseman known as Zorro.”)
Though played by an Italian-American, Guy Williams, Zorro was the first dashing Latino character to appear on network TV.