Aeropause has an entry regarding a flooring company that has decided to use everyone's favorite plumber, Mario, as the company logo. They tweaked him a little bit, of course. His familiar hat bears the blue letter "E" instead of a red "M". Ooh, sneaky; who would possibly notice? It's a sad state of affairs when little small town businesses co-opt familiar characters in this manner. The business owners probably assume nobody will think twice of the unauthorized use, and if anyone did have an issue with it, who would take the time to report it?
In the heart of the local downtown Little Vietnam district there is a small used video game shop that displays a sign featuring the Mario figure in the picture seen here. They simply took the original image of Mario from Super Mario Bros. 3's promotional artwork (top) and changed the colors from Fiery Mario to regular Super Mario (but they swapped the blue and red - ooh, nobody will notice!) and erased the "M" from his hat (bottom). They also omitted the fireball. There are no words on this sign, English or Vietnamese. Just that image of Mario in his fireball-tossing pose.
Using popular characters like this is illegal, not to mention just downright low. Mario and the other characters that are "repurposed" from time to time are popular because they star in quality games and have many memories attached to them. My love of the Super Mario games will not influence me to choose a flooring company that is using Mario as their logo. In fact, I'd be more likely not to consider hiring such a firm. If they use characters that don't belong to them, who is to say they don't take similar shortcuts or liberties with their professional work? Companies should leave Mario and friends to the world of video games and come up with their own creations.