Mortein: We trademarked Louie The Fly before axing him because we forgot to do it before

Despite planning to “kill off” Louie The Fly from its TV ads, Mortein trademarked the mascot just 43 days before making the announcement, Mumbrella can reveal.

However, owner Reckitt Benckiser insists that the reason it did so was because it had just noticed that for the previous half century it had forgotten to get the trademark. It only had the phrase “Louie The Pest” trademarked.  

Mortein continues to insist that its decision to axe Louie the Fly – and rapid turnaround to a public vote – was not a stunt.

In giving the rationale for the move – which has since been labelled as a publicity hoax – Reckitt Benckiser marketing director Chris Tedesco claimed that Louie the Fly needed to be axed from TV because it did more than just kill flies.

In a press release on September 12, Tedesco said: “It was a hard decision, but Mortein has decided to kill off Louie The Fly once and for all. Mortein has advanced throughout the years and we believe it’s time our face did as well. Mortein now kills cockroaches, spiders, mosquitoes, ants, silverfish and many more pests. In fact, Mortein is not just about killing a bigger range of bugs, but has continued to innovate beyond fly sprays and we feel Louie can no longer showcase the advancements of the complete Mortein range.”

However, the previous month, Reckitt Benckiser applied for trademark protection for Louie the Fly to include “Insecticides; insect repellents; pesticides; rodenticides; miticides; preparations for destroying vermin; anti-allergy preparations and sprays; disinfectants; germicides; fungicides; herbicides; preparations for killing weeds and vermin.”

Previously Reckitt Benckiser held the trademark “Louie the Pest”, registered in 2002.

A spokesman told Mumbrella: “When they made the decision to retire Louie from TV and have him live on social media they checked the trademark and due to an oversight discovered ‘Louie the Fly’ had not been trademarked in the past – the only TM they had was for ‘Louie the Pest’. As he is a brand icon and they didn’t want anyone else to use the name they applied for TM protection.


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