New Yukon tourism ad changed to avoid trademark infringement

The Yukon ad can't promise to "leave a light on" for tourists because that tag line is already used by North American chain Motel 6.

North American chain Motel 6 has already trademarked promise to 'leave the light on'

The tag line for the new Yukon tourism commercial, 'We'll Leave A Light On For You,' has been changed to 'Come to my Yukon - We'll light the way.' (YouTube)

The new Yukon tourism television commercial that contains a tag line almost identical to one used by a motel chain will be changed to avoid trademark infringement.

A Whitehorse marketing agency, Outside the Cube, created the ad and used the line, "we'll leave a light on for you."

Motel 6 has trademarked the line, "we'll leave the light on for you" in its advertising.

In launching the ad, Neil Hartling, the president of the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon, said coming up with the line was a team effort. 

"It was a team effort, the agency and the department and a stroke of brilliance, because we wanted something that would be inviting to the consumer, but would also tie in to the tag line, Larger Than Life," Hartling said at the launch on Monday referring to the tagline already used by the tourism department.

It didn't take long, however, for the public to recognize the familiarity of the slogan.

Dee Enright, the president of Outside the Cube, says notifications started showing up on social media.

"We got a note back from a couple of different people saying, 'hey I think I've heard this,'" she says.

Advertising exec says trademark search on tagline 'came back clean'

Enright says Outside the Cube did a trademark search on an Industry Canada page, but the difference between, "the" and "a" was enough to defeat the purpose of the search.

"We checked out 'we'll leave a light on' and 'we'll leave a light on for you' and both searches came back clean," Enright says.

But after learning about the Motel 6 slogan this week, she says more research was done. 

"We said to our legal team, take a look at this for us, the trademark agent, and they came back and actually Motel 6 had trademarked 'we'll leave the light on for you,'" Enright says. 

She says no legal issues have arisen from the possible trademark infringement and the tagline is being replaced with, "Come to my Yukon - We'll light the way."

CBC News contacted the Yukon tourism department, but a spokesperson refused to comment.

Enright also responded to criticism that First Nations culture was excluded from the commercial. She says aboriginal culture will be reflected in some future ads.

"We reached out to all kinds of people to be actors including some First Nations communities," she says.

"Some of them just weren't available in timing that we had. But Roberta Hartman, who is actually in the commercial, is actually First Nations from the Prairies. So, there's certainly no intent on our end to not be diverse," Enright says.

On mobile? Click here to watch the Yukon tourism ad


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