September’s Birchbox

Not that thrilling a haul. Two wins targeted at my demographic, the rest silly stuff.

In my demographic, anything with the word Bulgari:
Another brand that works well for me, Caudalie – whose products are made with grape and vine extracts:
But then it went downhill – yet another Color Club nail polish, so my daughters can add to their collection for their home nail salon events.
Next, “The Brush Guard” “brush guard variety kit”:
I have the sneaking suspicion that these brush guards are the original wrappers cosmetics brushes came in, which someone has diligently hoarded and decided to repurpose (a word I loathe) for essentially the same purpose for which they were originally used. I suppose if I were a better person I’d treat my cosmetics brushes more lovingly … but I’m not, so I won’t. 
Trademark Geek Digression: I note that THE BRUSH GUARD has actually been registered with the PTO for “covers for cosmetics brush bristles; brush covers for cosmetics brushes.” Even with the exclusive right to “brush” disclaimed, this registration is a disgrace, IMHO, and should never have gone through. If you can ask yourself “what does this device do?” and reply “guard the brush,” then the mark should have been refused as descriptive if not generic. Once again, it’s registrations like this that clog the register and unfairly accord overbroad rights to trademark owners – which, in turn, often leads to aggressive yet unfounded assertion of those rights against legitimate descriptive use. (See KP Permanent Makeup, Inc. v. Lasting Impression I, Inc., for a broader discussion of this topic.)
Finally, of no use to me, there is a piece of elastic ribbon cut and tied and cleverly called “The Twistband.” This appears to be merely 6″ of elastic ribbon. Neither an original name nor idea here. Moreover, I’ve had short hair for all but about three years of my life. I can offer it as a bribe to whichever daughter tidies her room best, but it’s not really an item for the young 50-something.

NSFW or for Dad

I think I’ll let Dan Savage’s commenter here express some thoughts on the merits of a new product called Masque. From the trademark perspective, however, I’ll be a bit more forthcoming: Masque, for a product whose purpose is to “mask,” is descriptive, and possibly even generic, of the product, and therefore likely unregistrable. The fact that they use the French spelling doesn’t change that analysis one iota.

That is all.

Hell to the no indeed!

I’d have taken a photo the other day of the huge Athleta “coming soon” sign at my nearest mall, but feared risking the wrath of their security squad. What did I want to memorialize in pixels? The absolutely jarring “Power to the She” slogan. Nancy, of course, has already raked this slogan over the coals, but as far as I am concerned, it cannot be raked too much (unlike this metaphor, which I’ve already worn out). 

Athleta’s actual use of the slogan since its January introduction certainly doesn’t convince me that the slogan speaks to anyone who knows how to speak: Athleta has a Power to the She Award; its articles introducing the winners of that award always begin “Meet the Power to the She Award recipient …” Huh? It’s clumsy and looks incomplete in text, almost worse than when it stands alone as a slogan. “She,” as a subjective pronoun, should never follow a preposition.¹  And “the She”? What does it mean? What is it meant to mean? It makes my head spin. Just because some companies rely on non-standard English to make their points doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.²  Not everyone thought the atrociously ungrammatical “Think Different” was brilliant, after all. 
Here’s what I don’t understand: Athleta is a pretty good name. Their Athleta chi blog has a great tagline: “connecting women to the energy of inspiration.” How about connecting women to the energy of logical word formation?

¹So if you’re thinking “but what about ‘with she and I’? Don’t think it ever again and consult a good grammar textbook. Please.

²Philosophy courtesy of my mother, an enthusiastic proponent of the “Just because everyone jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, doesn’t mean you have to do it too” child-rearing method.