Ever heard of Taco John’s? We don’t mean to insult the chain of Mexican-style fast food joints if you haven’t. If you had to guess what Taco John’s invented, what would you say is most likely their claim to fame?
a. They created the first-ever 5-alarm salsa challenge.
b. It was Taco John’s Spanish-speaking Chihuahua who famously became the star of another taco company’s TV marketing.
c. They trademarked the term “Taco Tuesday.”
If you didn’t guess “c,” you’ve clearly had a long day. (See: blog title and the image above.) But no judgement here.
A Quick Study on Trademarks
According to priceonomics.com, Taco John’s trademarked the term in the 1980s, offering two tacos for the low price of 99 cents on Tuesdays. But just because you trademark something doesn’t mean others won’t attempt to use it anyway (and several companies do). Responsibility falls on the company to defend its trademarks. Since then, the company has spent time and lawyers’ fees fighting other restaurants who attempt to use the term.
Most trademark attorneys online agree – Taco Tuesday was a questionable trademark to grant in the first place. It’s neither fanciful (abstract) or arbitrary (dull) enough to have typically been considered a solid, unique trademark. Unfortunately for Taco John’s, the buzz around Taco Tuesday seems to stop there – with the phrase, not with the restaurant. So it’ll continue to be used over and over again, making it really hard to own or enforce.
Taco Tuesday is fun. But restaurants use all sorts of holidays for promotional inspiration and to keep customers coming back (see: 6 Funny President’s Day Tweets That’ll Have You Feeling Patriotic).
How Cinco de Mayo and Other Holidays Can Be Money-Makers
We bet you see where we’re going with this…Happy Cinco de Mayo, folks!
History.com has a great overview of Cinco de Mayo history and significance in the United States: Cinco de Mayo—or the fifth of May—is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.
Much like with Taco Tuesday, various restaurants, bars, breweries and entertainment venues are trying to cash in on the opportunity for creative promotions around the holiday. They use these promotions to remind customers they’re still here and that they’re still relevant (even if customers haven’t bought in a while).
Some examples of businesses both large and small gearing up for Cinco de Mayo:
For most of us, certain brands and ways to celebrate come to mind when we think about Cinco de Mayo.
@AvosfromMexico didn’t surprise by offering some avocado-based recipes in honor of the holiday. Their #Guacit hashtag? That’s pretty cute. But we’re wondering why they didn’t hit us with a pic!
@Tostitos came slightly further out of left-field, with a sweet take on a Cinco de Mayo treat. What an excellent image! Look more closely though, and they’re missing some hashtag love that could have gained this post some serious popularity. #CincodeMayo, anyone?
@Chilis hit this one out of the park. The example above is just one piece of a larger #CountdownToCinco campaign, paired with adorable hashtag #5DaysofMargs, cleverly crafted copy and eye-catching images.
Just because you don’t sell food or drinks inspired by Mexican culture doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the fun.
@robkardashian took to Twitter promoting his brand Arthur George in the form of new, “limited time” socks. We’ll keep our comments to ourselves on this one.
Weather pro @ChloeNews3LV saw it as a chance to give her audience a heads up on how the weather may affect their celebrations.
Etsy seller @CristalHughes decided your pup should get in on the fun, promoting her unique chili pepper dog collar.
Let’s Get Started
Hopefully these examples got the creative juices flowing. If you’re still stumped, we can’t help much in time for Cinco de Mayo, but we have Thryv pros on call to prepare you for a number of opportunities to remind current customers you’re still there.
Important note: No matter how good your intention, it’s important to remain sensitive and respectful when incorporating any culture’s holiday into business or product promotions.