Raise your hand if any of these sound familiar to you:
All of these are trademarks owned by celebrities. And yes, some of these (or all of these) are ridiculous.
In the U.S., you can trademark words, logos, smell, color (e.g., "Tiffany blue"), sound (e.g., "NBC chimes," "Law and Order doink doink"), packaging, and design, among others. Pretty much anything can be trademarked, so long as a mark is: 1) distinctive; 2) non-functional; and 3) not scandalous, disparaging, and deceptive. Applying for a trademark registration in the U.S. is also pretty straight forward if you know what you're doing and/or if you have the means to apply for a registration and maintain that registration. For celebrities, it's easy to hire attorneys and pay for trademark applications in a snap.
What's in it for celebrities to apply for trademarks? Aren't most of them actors, artists, or athletes? Sure, but a lot of them are also business savvy or have people giving them business advice. Take Taylor Swift, for example. When her fans started buying shirts that said "This sick beat," she wanted to make sure that she was the only one making shirts that said "This sick beat," so that her fans were buying those shirts from her, and not from anyone else.
Others seem a little less motivated to make money off of their marks. Take Tim Tebow, for example. He has also registered his mark TEBOWING for apparel, but his primary concern is to make sure that his mark is used appropriately. So, for some celebrities, it's more about controlling the use of their marks.
Because trademark owners must maintain their marks post registration, my feeling is that many of these celebrity marks will go abandoned at some point in the future. This will likely be true especially for many celebrities who are enjoying their 15 minutes of fame. As you may guess, these marks are of little value. But for other marks that are owned by A-list celebrities, they may accrue great value; and rights to use those marks can be sold for a good sum.
* This one is my favorite.