49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

June 3, 2013
Wit happens: Levi Strauss is stealing my jokes

Levi's has positioned itself to turn cleverness into cash.

According to The Merc's Mike Rosenberg, the company recently coughed up $350 each to trademark two one-liners that refer to the newly named "Levi's Stadium." The first is, "Field of Jeans," which 49ers CEO Jed York mentioned -- to laughs -- at last month's naming rights press conference.

The second is, "Win one for the Zipper," which Levi's honcho Chip Bergh mentioned -- to laughs -- at the press conference. You can envision these slogans being used on billboards, advertising and t-shirts, and the 49ers and Levi's making beaucoup dollars off of them. Which is all well and good, except for one thing ...

... "Win one for the Zipper" is my joke! I tweeted it mere minutes after the team announced its $220 naming rights deal with the blue jeans maker. Proof:

Don't get me wrong. I'm not implying Levi's has stolen my intellectual hilariousness. I'm saying it. Now I know how Ziggy felt when The New Yorker published his ideas. Some charlatan has stolen a Barrows and passed it off as his own.

The only way to make amends for this theft is for York and Bergh to write me a check for ... oh, $4.9 million ought to cover it. Or at least send me a pair of jeans. I have a size 29 waist (just like in high school!). I'll wear them with my "Win one for the Zipper" t-shirt.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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