Downright infringement of another company's logo is bad, but small businesses can play off of famous iconography to strong effect. Design Taxi recently documented a campaign by London's Borough market that emphasized the "real apples" that they sell through window graphics that mimic the Apple computer company logo and spare, white style.
Although this is an obvious joke, the Market importantly doesn't make any attempt to "trick" customers into thinking they are walking into an iPod store, with lots of displays centered around different varieties of apples. There were also signs explaining the name of each of the apples and providing relevant information.
However, the fruit is mounted on walls and stands on top of white tables, much the way Apple displays its devices, and the connection between the brands helped to draw attention to the thousands of types of apples available. It helps the Market that this temporary rebranding is part of a "1,000 year anniversary" celebration for the Market, combining that sense of history with something undeniably modern.
The Huffington Post recently quoted a statement released by the Market, in which market development manager David Matchett said that there was a serious mission behind this campaign: promoting apple sales and awareness.
"This country's love affair with the apple is no secret — we have been eating apples for centuries," he said. "However, there are some varieties under threat and we risk losing the diversity of this delicious fruit."
If your company makes the right choices and is clear about its actions, using custom logo decals that are clearly influenced by others could be a move that draws attention and gets all sorts of customers talking about your brand correctly.