Forest Service Smoldering Over Ad Using Smokey
EUGENE, Ore. - Smokey Bear's appearance in an environmental group's ad has the U.S. Forest Service smoldering mad.
Americans for the Ancient Forests broke trademark laws by using Smokey's image in ads that criticize the agency's logging practices, Forest Service officials said.
The furry firefighting bear in a ranger's hat is a protected symbol to be used only for fire-safety education, said a spokeswoman for the Willamette National Forest.
The environmental group said free-speech guarantees allow anyone to use Smokey as long as it isn't to make money.
The ad, part of a $1 million TV, radio and print campaign in 20 markets nationwide, shows a mean-looking Smokey holding a chain saw behind his back.
"Say it ain't so, Smokey," the ad reads. "There's a bear in the woods. And he's destroying our heritage."
"We felt the Forest Service is hiding behind the image of a friendly looking and jovial character," said Bob Chlopak, the environmental group's director. "Unbeknownst to many people, they've destroyed 90 percent of the old growth in this country. As part of the debate over the Forest Service and protecting old growth . . ., Smokey is fair game."
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