know, right? Not Paris, not Sicily. The Levys are branching out! We took advantage of Volvo’s spectacular overseas delivery program to visit Denmark and Sweden, and we were not disappointed. (Except by the rain and cold. If I never see a certain v-necked gray sweater of mine again, it’ll be too soon.) Great food, scenery, museums, and people. The language, not so much; devoted readers know what a language whiz kid I think I am, but Swedish and Danish? Just impenetrable.

Still, there was entertaining/scatological branding galore. First on the list? This charming hat shop in Copenhagen:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Is that just like a small fart? I can’t even begin to guess, because the language, as I said, is impenetrable.

Next, also in Copenhagen, we have an impenetrable carshare slogan:

Smart i en fart

But funny, of course, because I’m twelve.

Next stop, a 7-11 at a gas station on the highway in Sweden, where we drove our new Volvo to visit my husband’s college roommate. (Think “Welcome to Sweden” but in reverse. Sort of.) And though we really had to get back on the road, I honestly could’ve spent all day savoring product names … like this one:

PLOPP

And this men’s shop was closed when we walked by, thus suggesting it didn’t live up to its name:

STAYHARD

That’s the entertaining start to our Scandinavian odyssey; more to come!

Edited to add that Funny Or Die has already made the Fart Car a reality. (H/t my friend Leslie at Blythe’s Blog!)

 

Okay, actually it’s the UK, but really, after you’ve seen the episodes of Arrested Development that take place there, would you really call Epcot’s World Showcase land anything else?

The shopping in all of Epcot is excellent, though there’s always some product name that elicits eye-rolling or guffawing. Like this one, for example:

epcot mint balls

 

I could’ve bought some to see how, exactly, Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls would keep me all aglow, but I erred on the side of caution.

And this one, from the Mitsukoshi department store in Epcot’s Japan:

Hi-chew

Naturally, the only reply to the question “Would you like a Hi-Chew?” is “Gesundheit.”

Thanks. Don’t forget to tip your waiter.

Okay, I can understand not promoting our cannabis industry too flagrantly in tourism promotions – our appeal shouldn’t be so limited that it repels potential sectors of the market.

But this ad for Colorado tourism?

CO tourism ad

 

Apart from its calling to mind the infamous “Daisy ad” from 1964 (about which here), why does the ad show more of the cloud than of the beautiful blue sky? Why do the mountains fade and lack defined peaks? Why rely on the trite “memory-making” theme? Why couldn’t I photograph the ad without including my thumb? Listen, our never-ending cold spring ended, finally, today. The sun is shining, we may not get rain till later in the day, and people are smiling again after a month’s gloom. This ad captures little of the joy of being in Colorado. And believe me, there’s plenty to be had.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bellapierre

 

This item was in my daughter’s Ipsy bag this month. Where do I begin?

Okay, we have “bella,” which is Italian for beautiful, mashed together with “pierre,” which is French for stone. Except “bella” bears an extraneous and incomprehensible accent mark; the combination sort of means “beautiful stone” (and it’s sheer coincidence that I photographed it on my granite countertop). I know I am meant to ignorantly assume that the accent mark imparts a certain quelle-heure-est-il cachet to the product but alas, I cannot. Rather, I am stuck repeating two of my constant refrains when it comes to trademarks: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means” – and “I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it.

My daughter says the the liner is highly pigmented and is looking forward to using it and was happy to relinquish the packaging to her obsessive mother.

Would, or should, anyone really disagree with the proposition that the food you eat should taste good? I think not. But is that proposition on its own worthy of serving as a trademark? To wit:

Food Should Taste GoodW

I note that it’s registered, but think that registration won’t go far to enabling the mark’s owner to prevent others from saying – not using as a trademark – that food, in fact, should taste good. Your mission statement shouldn’t necessarily be the same thing as your trademark.

Similarly, if asked the question set out in this mark (which is registered, despite the absence of the symbol), I’d of course say “hell yeah,” though I wouldn’t necessarily view that question as a mark:

Wanna Betta Butt

While a slogan or catchphrase may be registrable with the PTO (because “Food should taste good” and “Wanna betta butt?” are not technically descriptive of the goods they designate), that doesn’t mean they’re good trademarks. Multiple word brand names do not roll trippingly off the tongue, are difficult to remember and thus susceptible to misidentification,* and ultimately make me think of one of Saturday Night Live’s most memorable fake brands, Oops! I Crapped My Pants!

 

______________________

*Fun fact: I always refer to the women’s clothing store White House¦Black Market as “Black Tie, White Noise,” the name of a (highly underrated, IMHO) David Bowie album.

 

Many years ago, I encountered (and am desperately sorry I cannot remember where) the charming phrase “lying around like a lox.” Anyone who’s seen a full side of lox will find the phrase beautifully evocative. I then extrapolated from that the coinage “loxin’ around the house,” something I do a lot of, often with dogs in tow.

Well, a recent visit to Ulta brought me another variation on the theme:

snoxin

That’s right, snoxin. You’re loxin’? You’re snoozin? You’re both right – you’re SNOXIN!

A visit to the indeed labs (and despite the fancy smooshed “i” and “n” the URL is “indeedlabs.com”) website offers a wealth of other marks to probe, including “Matrixyl 3000 … [with] messenger molecules, Matrikines” and “SYN-AKE … an effective wrinkle smoothing compound”; re the latter, is it short for “synapse ache” or am I just falling into an ingredient name-generation syn-ake pit? See what I did there? Oy. As for Matrikines, that definitely rings of sci-fi and not science to me – perhaps a tribe of female supercows?

Fun fact about “snoxin” as a name? When you say it out loud while shopping at Ulta with your teenaged daughter, you will dissolve into hysterics and people will think you’re crazy.

In any event, would you like a visual aid to better grasp what I now conceive of as snoxin? Because snow’s coming again, and I’m sure we’re going to be back at it soon.

doges snoxin

You’re welcome.

 

It’s bad enough that the Teen Spirit brand tarnishes Kurt Cobain’s memory. But this is even worse:

cute n girlie

CUTE & GIRLIE? WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK? IT’S 2015 – AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO NOTICED? If you’re old enough to use antiperspirant, you’re old enough to be totally mortified if your mom buys you “cute & girlie [sic]” antiperspirant.

And for the final injury, it should be “girly” the adjective, and not “girlie” the diminutive noun.

Here’s the last ad of note from Aspen Magazine:

sentient jet

Don’t get me wrong – I love the word “sentient.” (And would love the idea of private jet service, but alas, will have to resign myself to the crumbs offered by my United Premier Silver status this year.)

But do we really think that “sentient” is the easiest word to pronounce? You, my literate readers, and I, and Wordnik, all know how it’s pronounced, but the full name just doesn’t roll off the tongue all that easily – the “shint” second syllable gets jammed with the “j” of “jet,” in my humble and fussy opinion. So while I loved the Sentient Jet mark at first sight, I liked it less at first recite. [I would insert a frowning emoji here if I knew how and were cooler. But I’m not.]

 

 

From Aspen Magazine, high society indeed:

High there

Getting in the social responsibility angle? With tasteful graphics and a non-punning name? I’ll be right over – after I’m finished at Bogner and Prada and Gucci, of course.

Mr. Levy was speaking at an ABA conference this past weekend, so spousal solidarity impelled me to join him at Snowmass, where we enjoyed great skiing and dining.

Apropos of nothing trademark-related, Snowmass is a place where you can see this ad for Bogner skiwear in Aspen Magazine –

Bogner

and think “Who on earth would ever wear that?” … And then, mere hours later, you’ll see someone at the Two Creeks chairlift wearing the exact same outfit!

Said Aspen Magazine offers so much more, though, so stay tuned.

I can’t decide what bothers me more about this product name:

woats

Is it (a) that the mark consists merely of the product’s main ingredient, with an additional letter slapped onto it? Or (b) that said mark rhymes with “goats”? Or (c) that when you try to pronounce it your mouth contorts uncomfortably and you’re not sure anyone can understand you? [Try it. I’ll wait. “Want some Woats?” See?] Or (d) that it reminds me of the egregious and (for me, at least) hackle-raising misspelling of “whoa” as “woah”?

I’m afraid it’s (e) All of the above, which is unfortunate, since the founder of the company has some very laudable goals for giving back to the community.

 

I have noted in the past (sorry for the missing photo; it was of a brand called Redskins) that the French may have a bit more leeway than we do about using Native American nomenclature in their ads and products; yes, it may be culturally insensitive, but they’re an ocean away and bear less culpability for the ills inflicted on our native populace. Still, I don’t think that leeway extends as far as this company would like to take it:

sioux

This ad copy is translated as “In Sioux country, for the pretty ‘Red Skins,’ an incantation is uttered by the Shaman of the Tribe: May My Red Spots Disappear!”

First of all, “May My Red Spots Disappear”? Doesn’t really flow off the tongue as a brand name. Second, what is that photo? A winged serum bottle on a rope? Third, are these two ads for one company’s two products on one page? My middle-aged eyes are bugging out of my head! Fourth and finally, shaman? Really?

I was not surprised to find this ad in the cheap pages at the end of the magazine. That should be the most prominence it ever gets – before it hits la poubelle, that is!

 

 

I’d rather not go into too much detail, but I’ll tell you that this product name –

snip

has the unfortunate consequence of making me think of this. And this timeless (heh) classic joke, which makes me really not want these chips, as if the cilantro weren’t enough to keep me away for life.  

More TJ Maxx antics:

provance

Just decide on one and stick with it. But I’ll give you a hint – it’s Provence! (Also, this chateau appears not to exist at all. Tant pis.) This wooden tray was tempting, and you know I love a good typo, but helas, this was not marked down enough.

Yes, though it’s been a month since we got back from Paris, it’s taken me time to get to my magazines. So here’s Exhibit A – a brand name I kind of like:

Hipanema

… even though my iPad keeps wanting to change it to Hip Anemia.

I spend so much time and money at DSW that it’s no wonder I have been officially designated a “Shoe Lover” (duh, as if I haven’t known this since Mr. Massey’s shoe shop in Newark back in the 60s …) With me, two teenage daughters, and a husband who loves shoes too, we’re there all too often, and are all too familiar with the brands they carry.

But when I saw this one I was speechless. I don’t care how many registrations* their owner has for this mark and marks incorporating it:

Klogs

IMHO, that’s a whole lot of money spent on something that’s virtually unprotectable. Is it worth trying to buy a krazy spelling of clogs? And would you even try to enforce it? (Hint: TTABvue contains no records indicating the owner of the KLOGS trademarks has opposed any applications based on its ownership of KLOGS. I rest my case.)

___________________
*2(f), Supplemental, and with disclaimers of the right to use “clogs” apart from the mark as shown.