As an example of the sort of answer I'm looking for in response to my question let me present:
Boojum, the bad luck Snark.
Boojum was originally the mascot of the Boo-Way Fireworks Company, who featured in a series of television advertisements throughout the Western world from November 1959.
The Boo-Way advertisements featured Boojum, the Bad Luck Snark as a cartoon cyclopean single-eyed chimera of bird and bat, with big, horn-shaped ears and a broad, evil grin drawn as a zig-zag line between its upper and lower lips. The Boo-Way advertisements established the lore that Boojum emerged from hiding at the stroke of midnight at the new year, and that he was frightened of fireworks, with which he could be frightened back into hiding for the rest of the year. Boo-Way Fireworks Company fireworks worked best, of course... The advertisements also suggested that if Boojum wasn't frightened away, that he would bite unsuspecting people and give them a year's bad luck.
The Boojum advertisements continued until 1966, when the Australian RSPCA used Boojum in their own advertisements that exhorted the Australian people to not cut down trees with holes or hollows in which wildlife could shelter, stating that Boojum liked to hide in them and keep warm with the other wildlife, but if the tree in which he was hiding was cut down, he would emerge and bite anyone nearby, cursing them with bad luck for the rest of the year.
The Boo-Way Fireworks Company (BWFC) sued the Australian RSPCA for infringement of copyright, but it was found that Boo-Way had failed to register Boojum as a trademark, due to the reuse of distinctive portions of Lewis Carrol's 1876 work, The Hunting of the Snark, now in the public domain, and since Boojum's likeness, along with the terms Boojum and Snark had been submitted for registration of trademark as a single application, the application had been rejected in it's entirety, and BWFC had failed to submit the trademarkable elements of their mascot seperately subsequent to the rejection of the initial application.
In the aftermath of BWFC's failed copyright suit, Boojum was used in similar campaigns to protect old trees that were home to wild animals in other nations around the world.
On December 26, 1980, after governments around the world had begun to impose restrictive legislation concerning the use and sale of consumer fireworks in response to safety concerns, the movie, Boojum Strikes! was released in cinemas around the world. It featured a recognisable animatronic Boojum inflicting terror and misfortune on an unnamed American community in the wake of a ban on the sale and use of fireworks that had been legislated by stealth in the lead-up to New Year's Eve. Predictably, Boojum's reign of terror was halted when members of the community frightened Boojum away with a display of contraband fireworks several nights into the new year, but the bad luck inflicted on those whom Boojum had bitten persisted until the following year, when fireworks were let off at midnight on New Year's day after the anti-fireworks legislation had been repealed.
Following the commercial success of Boojum Strikes!, in 1981, mass protests were organised against legislation restricting or banning consumer fireworks in many countries, most of them using the image of Boojum, and stating that banning the use of fireworks by consumers was an infraction against the people's traditional rights. The catchphrase for the campaign was, "If we're not allowed to frighten away Boojum, are the office-holders going to be lucky enough to stay in office?"
In the wake of the protests, many jurisdictions reversed the bans on fireworks, while others watered down the effect of the legislation or made it almost trivial to obtain a license to purchase and discharge fireworks. In many jurisdictions in which the fireworks legislation remains restrictive, police refuse to enforce it, or take small (but numerous) bribes to overlook the use of fireworks.
Boojum, the Bad Luck Snark has remained a cultural icon ever since. Most people today don't realize that Boojum had originally been an advertising mascot for a fireworks company in 1959, and have attributed him to traditions from the 1880s in England, Europe and America, and deriving from ancient Chinese new year traditions.