Today’s customer service call-of-the-day focused on a product that we don’t even sell. The product in question is actually an imitation or knock-off of our popular Insta-Snow ® product, but no matter how much we tried to explain that she purchased an imitation of the real instant snow powder, she just didn’t understand. She continued to yell, “This is not snow… it’s goo… it’s slush… but it’s not snow!” After lending a listening ear, Lisa asked, “Does it say ‘Insta-Snow®‘ or licensed by Steve Spangler Science on the package?” “No,” she replied. “Well, let me send you a jar of the real stuff.”
The unfortunate thing is that this call is not an isolated incident. As Insta-Snow® (the original Instant Snow) grows in popularity, so does the number of companies who try to produce imitations that fall short in so many ways.
Is there more than one Insta-Snow® on the market?
Answer: NO, but there are a number of knock-offs and the calls we get are from angry people who were expecting the same snow they’ve seen us demonstrate on television. There is only one Insta-Snow® as indicated by that “circle R” thing. We don’t use the ® everywhere because it becomes somewhat annoying, but the name Insta-Snow is a federally registered trademark of Steve Spangler Inc. (Federal Trademark Registration #2928946). The terms Insta-Snow and Instant Snow are synonymous and are protected under federal trademark law. That’s why you see that we use them interchangeably.
But this didn’t stop a few guys in Minnesota from “borrowing” the name InstaSnow and developing a line of products that literally copied every Insta-Snow product we had on the market. Brands like Snow in Seconds are not licensed by Be Amazing Toys, Inc. or Steve Spangler Science, but they claim to be InstaSnow (or some off-spelling of the trademark). They copied the graphic design, cleverly named their product InstaSnow and even went so far as to lift the text from our instructions. If that wasn’t bad enough, they launched a website called www.InstaSnow.com and “repurposed” a copyrighted video of me doing a television segment about Insta-Snow. If you didn’t know better, you’d think that it was one of our websites. Luckily, our intellectual property attorneys understand the difference and took action.
Our favorite knock-offs are the companies who believe that Insta-Snow is the same superabsorbent polymer found in a baby’s diaper. If this were true, every time the baby went potty, the diaper would erupt to an enormous size and explode! Might be a great way to potty train the kid, but it’s not true. Insta-Snow® is the only polymer that instantly ERUPTS when it comes in contact with water. The knock-off “snow” companies tell their customers to “…add water and stir the mixture for 20-30 seconds to make snow.” All you have after 30 seconds is a tired hand and a cup of baby diaper goo. Just stick with the original Insta-Snow® and you’ll be safe, happy and amazed!
Why are we so concerned about protecting our Instant Snow?
Insta-Snow is a product that didn’t exist anywhere in the world until we launched it in 2002. An entire industry of fake snow polymer was born with the creation of our line of Instant Snow products. It’s the flagship product for our wholesale division – Be Amazing Toys – and Insta-Snow is a staple for thousands and thousand of educators around the world who use the product in their classrooms for a variety of applications. When one of those teachers or a parent or any disappointed person calls our office with another knock-off horror story, we take the time to explain the problem and do everything possible to get a jar of the real Insta-Snow in their hands. By educating our customers (or potential customers), we hope to introduce them to our entire line of innovative products that make learning science fun.
Steve Spangler’s Insta-Snow Video
This video has found a home on fake snow sites all over the Internet. This video features Steve Spangler and Kim Christiansen from December 2003. This was the first time Insta-Snow appeared on television as a product. Later the same month, Steve worked with Jeff Brooks and our college interns to fill the back of a moving truck with nearly 6,000 gallons of fluffy Instant Snow. At the time Denver was experiencing a very light winter with no snow fall yet in December. So, Steve set out to deliver a white Christmas to one lucky viewer… who was very surprised.