North Carolina lottery officials unveiled the logo Tuesday they wanted to print on thousands of ticket machines and place in television commercials leading up to the lottery's planned March 30 launch.
Make that the now-defunct logo. Officials later found out someone else might have the copyright to the image.
N.C. Education Lottery director Tom Shaheen revealed the logo at a public meeting of his bosses, the nine-member lottery commission. Shaheen, who has worked for lotteries in several states, said the fireworks-and-stars logo promotes the lottery as fun, festive and for education.
Later in the day, lottery officials declined to give reporters copies of the image, saying they were still checking out some legal issues. Then they started calling television stations, telling them not to air it.
"Our legal folks say we don't have copyright clearance," lottery spokeswoman Pam Walker said Tuesday evening, indicating the lottery would have a new logo quickly. "Graphics artists are working on it as we speak."
The now-discarded logo didn't seem to get the ovation Shaheen wanted anyway. There was far more chuckling than clapping among those at the meeting.
"I thought it looked like a palm tree myself," joked lottery commission chairman Charles Sanders.
Also during the meeting, commissioners chose a Raleigh advertising company over two Charlotte firms to receive lucrative three-year deal to promote the lottery.
The commission unanimously voted to give Howard Merrell & Partners a contract worth $8 million during the lottery's first year and as much as $12 million during the second and third years.
Howard Merrell will earn an amount equal to 11 percent of the ad budget during the first year, or $880,000 if the lottery spends the $8 million it has budgeted. In the second and third years, the company would get 10.5 percent of an estimated $12 million ad purchase.
The company beat out Wray Ward Laseter and Douglas Displays of Charlotte and Mullen of Winston-Salem.