Nothing sacred: Wanna buy a (counterfeit) Pope Francis t-shirt?

According to, “New Pope Means New Brand for Catholic Church”  …

While the white smoke billowed out into St. Peter’s Square and Pope Francis was introduced to the world

…  the Catholic Church’s legal team was busy behind the scenes protecting its intellectual property.



The Catholic Church is as much a business as it is a religious beacon, and like any smart business, the Church protects its intellectual property.

Here’s how …

Vatican City and the Holy See are already the owners of such trademarks as “Benedictvs XVI Pontifex Maximus” and “Ioannes Pavlvs Pontifex Maximus.”

Now, with a new pontiff in place, Vatican lawyers will be hard at work securing trademarks for everything Pope Francis related.

Forbes notes that the Vatican’s trademarks are not applied for in the hopes of selling millions of Pope Francis T-shirts to Catholics throughout the world, but in order to protect the marks so others don’t use them inappropriately.

Back in the social mediasphere, brands found creative ways to use the papal news cycle to help showcase their product to the masses.

After all, it worked for Oreos at the Super Bowl, right?


Ford deleted its pope-related marketing tweet, presumably for fear of upsetting the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide.

Its message? Coupled with an image of a Ford Mustang, it read “We’ve got white smoke, too.”

Edit by BJP

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