The Campbell Soup Company has trademarked the word "chunky" after references to its "Chunky" branded soup made it into the lexicon of pop culture over the past couple of decades.
A trademark application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) noted that there had been "massive unsolicited media coverage of Chunky" such as parodies on "Saturday Night Live" ("SNL"), "The Simpsons" and "Family Guy," as well as references to the soup by rappers and novelists.
Campbell also noted its $1 billion advertising spend since 1988, including its NFL sponsorship. Its "Mama's Boy" commercials launched in 1997, featuring football player Reggie White and an actress playing his mother, who appears on the side-lines to make sure he has eaten his soup.
Those ads were followed by other NFL stars and in the early 2000s, Wilma McNabb, the real mother of player Donovan McNabb featured in advertising. Wilma McNabb then went on to become an SNL character, introduced by Tina Fey as "the star of the Chunky soup commercials." The fact that the commercial was parodied on "SNL" is "the ultimate sign you've 'made it' in pop culture," according to a Campbell spokesperson in an email to CNBC.