If you’re going to co-opt the name of one of Hollywood’s most iconic directors, you might want to get the okay from him first.
Carl’s Jr. announced earlier this week that it would rename its Charbroiled Sliders to "Spielburgers" in celebration of Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film Ready Player One. The company noted in the announcement that it had not cleared this with Spielberg, a fact that has become readily apparent in the last few days.
Warner Bros. Pictures was the first party to respond to the name change, revealing that, while Carl’s Jr. had not okayed the change with Spielberg directly, the fast food company had also not checked with Warner to see if everything was cool. Surprise -- it wasn’t.
Eventually the news reached Spielberg himself, who got onto the Amblin Entertainment Twitter account to voice his opinion, which was a fairly unsurprising one, all told. “They’re pretty good,” Spielberg said in the video, referring to the burgers in question, “but I’m passing. Cease and desist. You can’t do it. Sorry, guys.”
This could be a major blow to Carl’s Jr.’s marketing plan, as the company has already devoted significant resources making Spielburgers-themed parodies on its YouTube account and even orchestrating an ill-fated attempt to deliver hamburgers to Spielberg at Amblin Entertainment's headquarters. Of course, there’s a the distinct possibility that all of this back-and-forth is really an attempt at viral marketing and that the fast food company did okay everything with Spielberg and Warner.
Regardless, it will be interesting to see if Carl’s Jr. sticks with its renaming scheme, or if the Spielburger will just be one more piece of nostalgia slated to be revered in the digital world of Ready Player One’s OASIS.