It has been quite a while since I last did any drinking for research purposes. Let me tell you, this one isn’t likely to make me resume the practice:

IMG_20141003_095849

I think the only way this wine’s marketers could’ve pandered to their target market more would be to have made the label pink. With flowers. And a photo of Ryan Gosling.

N.B. Somehow I lost all my photos in my blog transition. I apologize. Technology is hard.

I can’t believe I haven’t yet found a reason to discuss my visceral disgust at the popular marketing term “melty.” What in dog’s name is wrong with “melted” and “melting,” I implore you? Every time I see a commercial using the term – and it rears its ugly head more and more often (though the public seems to have been cringing about it for many years now) – I scream at the screen. (I mean honestly, why not “meltish” then while we’re at it?)

So it was with even greater disgust that I turned over a package of Starbucks Via to see this fresh horror:

roasty

Yes, that’s “roasty.”

Now for a quick detour: I had the great honor and pleasure of being a guest lecturer on trademark prosecution at the University of Denver Law School last week, in a trademark class taught by the esteemed adjunct professor Marc Levy (okay, I had an in). And one of the topics I discussed my steadfast reminder to clients to look terms up in Urban Dictionary to make sure your new trademark isn’t a dirty word.

Let’s just say that Starbucks should’ve done that before forging ahead with its “roasty” usage.

 

Another entrant in the “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” sweepstakes:

image

 

Yes, it’s cute wordplay, and yes, it goes well with the Sexy Hair house brand.  But still, I’d prefer a bit more subtlety, perhaps because I’m fast approaching my mid 50s.

Is this the worst descriptor ever?

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Here’s a new test for you marketing folks out there: If it sounds obscene when you put it into the question “Is that your [BLANK] or are you just happy to see me?” – IT IS.

Just got served an ad on Hootsuite for a company called Vormetric. Sorry, but the font I read it in made the beginning of that name waaaaaay too close to “vomit” for my sensitive stomach.

vormetric

Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s late at night, maybe it’s my failing middle-aged vision … but any name that when you squint at it, calls “vomit” to mind? Let’s just say it makes me a bit queasy.

N.B. I also note that my younger teenager returned from her summer adventures with the abbreviated verb “vom” firmly entrenched in her vocabulary, so this could be part of the reason for my strong reaction to this mark.

 

We took our eldest off to Kenyon College this past weekend. Alma mater of such luminaries as Paul Newman, E.L. Doctorow, Laura Hillenbrand, and last night’s Emmy Award winner Alison Janney, it’s a gorgeous campus on a hill in central Ohio – as picturesque an educational environment as you’re likely to find anywhere.

Kenyon’s address is Gambier, Ohio, but Gambier is really inside Kenyon – it’s just that tiny. And because it’s so tiny, commerce there is limited. How limited?

Peoples Bank

There’s just one bank, and it can’t even afford an apostrophe.

 

Those are the only two words that immediately came to mind when I saw this mark:

duavee

I am guessing from the stylization of the word in the lower right-hand corner of the photo that the intention is for the mark to be pronounced “do-a-vee” – and I would have no gripe with that, if the ad didn’t also show the mark in text as “DUAVEE.” It’s that lack of differentiation between the halves of the mark that calls this post’s title words to mind, and makes me want to pronounce it “dwah-vee.”

Still, I’ve seen far worse, and have no quibbles here on the product itself – remember? I’m a femme d’un certain age.

 

Although our return flight from Frankfurt to Denver was unbearably crowded (how the 6’6″+ gentleman in front of us survived the legroom that crushed my 5′ frame I’ll never know), Lufthansa generally does a good job of feeding and watering its economy class passengers. And on its short hops, such as the one-hour flight from Munich to Frankfurt, you occasionally are treated to local goodies. German treats’ names can be quite entertaining – do you remember Fred Ferkel? Now meet Corny:

corny

Which name, of course, takes me, as it would, straight to Arrested Development. As usual, those who understand, will understand.

Of course there were magazines! How else could I have brought back this doozy:

emorroidi

I’m pretty sure that the idea of classical art and sculpture rarely crosses the minds of those creating hemorrhoid cream ads in the US, I’m just sayin’!

I can’t tell you how many times in my career (now over 24 years in this trademark biz!) I’ve been asked “but what if we change the spelling?” You mean from candy to “kandy”? From cheese to “cheeze”? Or this:

music skool

The answer, I’m afraid, is still no. It’s neither protectable nor distinctive. You’re fooling no one.

And that, my friends, is my rant du jour.

I’m not sure if this is just a failed attempt at a portmanteau or a mark whose owners never bothered to utter the term aloud before adopting it:

Ultherapy copy

Ultherapy is a non-invasive neck, eyebrow, and under-chin lift from Ulthera. At my advancing age, I can’t look askance at such procedures; I can, however, wonder about a mark and company name that sound like “ulcer” pronounced with a lisp. The moral of my story? Think twice about a mark that contains “th-” when there’s a word in the language that’s the same as your mark if lisped. Or at least I’d think twice …

Here’s a mark I’ve never understood:

betula

Mrs. Polyglot here can inform you that “betula” is Hebrew for “virgin.” Betula is also the scientific name for “birch” – but in my book, if you’ve got one translation of a word that you wouldn’t choose as your mark in English, even if you’ve got an alternate that’s less troublesome, think twice. On the other hand, I may work at home now, and have long lost the New York lawyer panache I once had – but you won’t ever see me in Birkenstocks, virgin or otherwise! I have to maintain some kind of dignity!

Sometimes reality isn’t quite as poetic as I’d like. For example, this Stuffer brand yogurt that we ate in Siracusa –

stuffer

- would’ve been a perfect complement to this gut-stuffing breakfast that we ate in Caltagirone:

Caltagirone breakfast

Not that there was anything to complain about with respect to the actual content of the breakfasts!

No, really:

smeg

 

Sally’s own outdoor fridge, whose style and name I chronicled after our last visit, has nothing on Blue Smeg!

Actually, as Nancy pointed out several years ago, Smeg is the name of an Italian appliance company that makes retro, 50s style products. While there’s no denying the appeal of the appliances’ sinuous lines and saturated colors, I agree with Nancy that it’s impossible to get over the name. And yet they persist: the English version of the company website even has a feature called the SMEGazine. Thanks, Smeg!

Finally, back in Sicily. And here’s just a reminder of how your faithful blogger’s overactive mind works. I saw this cereal box out on the counter at our friend’s house:

Nice Morning

And all I could think of is Nice-Matin, which is both the Nice, France morning newspaper‘s name; and the name of a great restaurant on the Upper West Side in New York, where I spent a glorious afternoon two years ago sipping rosé alone and reminiscing about my days living in that neighborhood so long ago. Who knew a cereal box could be my madeleine

I always say that at any given spot in the Munich airport, if you chose to drop to the floor and give it a lick, you’d do yourself no harm: It’s just that clean. Back when we first visited in 2004, with daughters then eight and six, I nearly wept with joy at the notion that I could send the girls into the restroom stalls without fear of their contracting some grave malady (hello, JFK!)

The airport also has gorgeous examples of German cars on display (no, we didn’t bring one home this time), and the usual array of tantalizing retail establishments and their entreaties to spend. One shop I can’t help stopping in is the Swatch store; I am a long-time Swatch owner, having purchased my first in Paris back in 1984 and my most recent last summer in Honolulu. We don’t have a Swatch store here in Denver, which is good and bad: I’d have even more of them if we did, but because we don’t I never get replacement batteries and the watches eventually die and even new batteries don’t work. So my jewelry drawer looks a bit like a Swatch graveyard, I confess.

All this is to say that we dutifully checked out the Swatch store at MUC, and I got a huge chuckle out of this great wordplay:

Scuba libre