More

In the '90s, two companies were using the same motto. They arm wrestled to see who got to keep it.

In 1992, Southwest Airlines and Stevens Aviation fought a battle over which company should be allowed to keep using their nearly identical punny slogans.

In the '90s, two companies were using the same motto. They arm wrestled to see who got to keep it.

In October of 1990, Southwest Airlines unveiled a new slogan: "Just Plane Smart."

Southwest Airlines was founded in 1967 by Rollin King, an investment consultant, and Herb Kelleher, an attorney. Kelleher served as the company's CEO from 1981 until 2001 and oversaw many different initiatives during his tenure.


One of those initiatives was a marketing campaign around a new motto: "Just Plane Smart." Southwest proudly unveiled the punny new slogan in October of 1990, and it seemed to go over well.

A recent picture of Southwest planes. Image by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images.

Most people seemed to like it. But there was one notable exception: a guy named Kurt Herwald.

Herwald was the CEO of Stevens Aviation, a (much smaller) company that sells and services small aircraft.

Stevens Aviation, it turned out, had a slogan of their own, the very similar and also punny “Plane Smart." And Stevens had been using it in their ads for years prior and may have had it trademarked.

In late-1991 or early-1992, Herwald noticed that Southwest was using very similar words, and out came the muscle. But in this case, the "muscle" wasn't the Stevens Aviation legal team. It was the forearms of Kurt Herwald.

Herwald sent a unique cease-and-desist letter to Southwest ... challenging their chairman to an arm wrestling match.

The letter, sent to Kelleher's attention, is reprinted below ( via Inc.):

Dear Mr. Kelleher:

We LOVE your new ads that use the clever, creative, effective "Plane Smart" theme! We can testify to its effectiveness since we've been using it in our own ads for a long time. In the true fun-loving spirit on which Southwest Airlines was founded, we challenge you to a duel to see who gets to keep "Plane Smart" — big ol' Southwest or little bitty Stevens. (Please — no lawyers!) We trust that you accept this challenge in the spirit intended. ... No litigiousness implied at all. We challenge you to a sleeves-up, best-two-out-of-three arm wrestling match between you and our chairman, at high noon on Monday, January 27, 1992...

Respectfully,
Stephen D. Townes
Executive Vice President
Stevens Aviation

P.S. Our chairman is a burly 38-year-old former weight lifter who can bench press a King Air — or something like that...








If that sounds like a ridiculous thing to ask of a major, publicly traded company CEO, well, that's because it is.

But Stevens was right — Southwest has a longstanding tradition of being somewhat ridiculous. (For example, the company's stock symbol is LUV, a reference to "love," of course, but also to Love Field in Dallas, where Southwest Airlines hoped to operate from originally.)

Not only did Southwest reply, but CEO Kelleher did so personally, with style.

Dear Mr. Townes:

Our chairman can bench press a quart of Wild Turkey and five packs of cigarettes a day. He is also a fearsome competitor who resorts to kicking, biting, gouging, scratching, and hair pulling in order to win. When really pressed, he has also been known to beg, plead, whine, and sob piteously. Can your pusillanimous little wimp of a chairman stand up against the martial valor of our giant?

Best regards,
Herbert D. Kelleher




And shortly thereafter, Stevens and Southwest scheduled an arm wrestling match, dubbed the "Malice in Dallas."

Best two out of three, winner gets to use the name and makes a charitable donation as part of the deal.

And, while this was probably not in the contract, the two sides agreed to have a whole lot of fun in the process.

They hired an official/emcee who wore a massive wig, symbolic of fight promoter Don King; they rented out a Dallas-area wrestling facility; and, even though this was in the age before YouTube, they filmed faux pre-fight "training" videos of each of the competitors. And, thankfully for those of us in the YouTube era, they also filmed the match.

Kelleher (left) and Herwald (right) face off. Image via Southwest Airlines Archive (Unofficial).

Here's round three, below. Herwald is the one in the maroon polo shirt. Kelleher is the guy in the headband and T-shirt with cigarette in his mouth, playing to the cameras.

In the video below, the arm wrestling match ends within the first couple of minutes, but it's worth watching until the end because some weird stuff happens (like, an impromptu wrestling match breaks out):

Stevens Aviation's CEO won the match and with it earned the exclusive right to use the "Plane Smart" slogan.

After the match, he immediately announced (as was clearly preplanned, given the novelty check that soon followed) that Stevens was going to continue to allow Southwest to use the motto in exchange for a $5,000 donation to Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland.

Kelleher presents the check made out to Ronald McDonald House. Image via Southwest Airlines Archive (Unofficial).

Both Stevens and Southwest got a nice PR bump out of the creative way to avoid litigation (and associated legal fees), and for Stevens in particular, it likely led to rewards.

As Priceonomics notes, "Stevens Aviation, previously a peon in its industry, rose to prominence: It experienced a 25% growth over the next four years, during which its revenues rocketed from $28 million to over $100 million."

Dan Lewis runs the popular daily newsletter Now I Know ("Learn Something New Every Day, By Email"). To subscribe to his daily email, click here.

Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.