How Warner Bros. Built a Fake Brand That Lives Beyond the Cartoon World

The story behind Acme, the best-known brand that never existed

Wile E. Coyote
Acme is easily the most famous brand that never was. Courtesy of Warner Bros.

As you read these words, a team of writers and animators at Warner Bros. is working on a much-buzzed cartoon film slated for a 2023 release. It will be funny, of course, but it will finally air the details of an ugly legal dispute that’s been festering since 1948. And after 75 years of having shoddy mail-order products malfunction on him, Wile E. Coyote just might see some justice once Coyote v. Acme hits theaters.

This story first appeared in the April 5, 2021, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.
@UpperEastRob Robert Klara is a senior editor, brands at Adweek, where he specializes in covering the evolution and impact of brands.