Say it, don’t thpray it

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 …

Like a virgin

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!

Destination: Caltagirone and Siracusa

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!

Destination: Sicily; or, you might REALLY want to clean that fridge

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!

Destination: Villa Chiara and the power of words

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

Destination: MUC (the Munich airport)

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

 

Destination: Munich; or, Fashion is hell

Mascara isn’t hellish enough? I’m not sure if they’re trying to say here in Germany that fashion is godly, ranges from heavenly or hellish, or what?

Olymp & Hades

Bonus: the y in German is pronounced like “oo” in English, so Olymp would sound like “O-loomp” to us!

 

 

 

 

 

Destination: Munich / Pronunciation fail

Say it out loud without affecting a German accent and you’ll see why:

Uhren World

In fact, yes, one of my teenagers did point this out to me!

Not just culture – trademarks too

We didn’t get enough of Sicily last time, so we decided to take the girls with us this summer after #1 graduated from high school. Once again, we made our way there via Munich, where a Lufthansa flight to Catania was the quickest way to get us to our destination, our friend Sally’s place at Marina di Ragusa in the south.

But first Munich – beer, beer, schnitzel, and beer. The Augustiner Keller and Zum Durnbrau restaurants were excellent, and the Neue Pinakothek a great place to escape the somewhat inexplicable crowds and 86 degree weather. And seeing old friends was the cherry on top of the sundae.

Or maybe this was:

Super Dickmann

Now, “dick,” in German, means “thick.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t save this mark from being absolutely hilarious in English. “Super thick man?” With what that item looks like? The small print doesn’t help either: “dick limitiert” means “thickly limits” or “thickly limited.” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

In any event, Super Dickmann was only the beginning of a fantastic and fun-filled vacation. Stay tuned for more! Tschüss!

Good dessert talk

So I’ve been busy of late trying to get the eldest graduated from high school, hence the lack of blogging. She did it, is off to college, and we’re off to open veins to make that happen. But at that graduation ceremony, misty-eyed yet still eagle-eyed Mom managed to spot this blot on the landscape of the high school grounds (where construction was going on just in time for 900+ students and their families to descend en masse):

Surevoid

Being a huge fan of the Christopher Guest oeuvre, all I could think of when I saw this sign was “A Mighty Wind,” and the character of Leonard Crabbe, who beamed with pride as he discussed working for Sure Flo Medical Appliances, which was, as he said, “named in tribute after my mother, her name was Florence.” Just watch the movie. I can’t do it justice. And then tell me you wouldn’t have thought the same after seeing this sign!

Actually, SureVoid makes “corrugated paper construction products, commonly known as “void forms” or “carton forms”, which create space between concrete structures & expansive soils, thereby isolating the concrete from the swelling ground,” according to their website. And there I was thinking it was a new competitor of Honey Bucket!

Trop de jeux de mots

I get this one, but am not so sure it’s easily understood by all:

Pois moi

Sooooo, where to begin? Well, pois in French means “polka dots.” Pas moi means “not me.” So “pois moi”? Pois also means “peas.” So pois moi = peas me?  I’m just a bit confused, once again because I know too much here. Don’t get me wrong though – I’d be very happy to wear one of these beauties around my wrist!

Clever leverage

United’s relatively new “luxury lifestyle and literary magazine”:

Rhapsody

It’s a great name for a magazine, and a wonderful tribute to “Rhapsody in Blue,” United’s trademark anthem.

 

Inevitable and predictable

Yet still satisfying:

purples reign

Right there alongside my Raspberry Beret lipstick.

A new day

Here I am in my new blogging home. Stay tuned for new posts when I figure this all out, and in the meantime, update your blogroll!

Rocky Mountain … Rehab?

Apologies for the picture quality – it was yet another of our blindingly sunny days:

It wasn’t until I drove closer to the storefront that I could read what they offered at “The Joint.” Fact is, it’s a good name even for a chiropractic establishment.

You drank it all night long?

A dear friend in London spotted this gem on an Austrian ski trip and knew it was right up my alley:

I think I’ve found my next winetasting/blogging gig: celebrity/vanity wines. Time to research!

What would Sartre say?

I’m not sure what Guerlain is saying here:

Yes, lashes from hell. If hell is other people, what are lashes from hell? This has been your existential advertising question du jour.
____________________________
With thanks to Daughter #1 for, at my request, shlepping French magazines home from her choir’s tour of Barcelona and Nice. It’s the least she could do …
 

Trademark didacticism and then some

Every once in a while I think it’s important to give credit to a particular brand for listening to their trademark lawyers and branding consultants, and not picking a completely descriptive mark.

Here’s a good example:

Living Proof – a solid, non-descriptive, suggestive mark. I’m assuming that it’s the line name and that Perfect Hair Day, a much less suggestive mark, is the product name. But again, Living Proof is an excellent beauty product or haircare name.

However, Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 styling treatment? A mouthful. (Not to mention the cutesy P H D initials …) While I applaud the affixation of a generic term (that’s “styling treatment”), it’s still tough for the consumer to keep track of all of these “long-ass names” (as blogger Poppy Buxom points out) to ensure she’s buying the correct product. Case in point: Garnier recently discontinued my favorite hair goop, and I set out to find hoarded backlogs on Amazon. Well, the full name of said product is “Garnier Fructis Style Survivor Tough it Out Glue with natural cactus extract – Extreme.” It took me ten minutes to sift through the names of all the available Garnier Fructis products and photos for me to verify that I wasn’t buying something that’d make my hair cling to my skull.

Bottom line? All of this fine print really makes it hard on us femmes d’un certain age who need reading glasses!

Department of redundancy department

I know in this mad, mad, world of watermelon Oreo cookies that companies often extend their product line with different flavors … but isn’t a pretzel always expected to taste like a pretzel? An apple with great apple taste? [Generic food item] that tastes like [same generic food item]?

Apparently not:

Something about this one just got to me – pretzels with a great pretzel taste. What will they think of next?
 

Double whammy

This just did me in:

No, it’s not white sauce. The closest we get to crème fraîche here at home is sour cream – which is not one of the ingredients found in either an American white sauce or a French béchamel. So “It’s White Sauce” is inaccurate and frankly, unappealing.