The MTA Does Not Appreciate Creative Interpretations of ‘If You See Something, Say Something’


The MTA intends to legally challenge an Ohio t-shirt maker, an Arizona cyberstalking prevention group, and (possibly) a Vanderbilt University student-safety campaign over their attempts to employ the “If you see something, say something” slogan, which was trademarked in 2007. While Allen Kay, the head of the advertising agency responsible for the motto, says he is “galled” by “derivative” uses of his idea, the MTA claims its planned actions are borne of more than pride. According to spokesman Sam Zambuto, “The slogan is not allowed for use in communications other than the intended anti-terrorism message.” That 54 entities, from the Department of Homeland Security to the Maryland Natural Resources Police, have been given permission to use the catchphrase in terrorism-fighting contexts seems to support the MTA’s assertion that its real concern is message-dilution. (Just look at what’s happened to England’s WWII-era “Keep calm and carry on.”) But, as any regular subway rider with even a mediocre sense of humor knows, “If you see something, say something” really just lends itself to so very many terrorism-unrelated situations.

MTA sees something - says stop! [NYP]