We are not amused

As I’ve said before, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. I’ll say it again:

I’m not even going to link to this one because it gets worse. Normally I’m a great booster of our local bounty, but this time I’ll pass. (Plus, salad dressing and marinades are about the easiest things a home cook can whip up, so I almost never buy bottled anyway.)      

Destination: Iowa

A visit to Grinnell College brought me to Iowa for the very first time. Great college and great people and let’s just hope they love our daughter as much as we do. On our way back to the airport we stopped in Des Moines, where we enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of a food festival.

This stopped me in my tracks, however:

I’d say this is a law school exam question waiting to happen.


Props to Playtex for taking advantage of the “play” in their name and incorporating it into this ad campaign:

Play ON is an absolutely great slogan, and with a mark as well-known and distinctive as Playtex, enhances the appeal of the mark, and indeed makes a tampon ad tastefully playful.

September Birchbox – Streamlined

This Birchbox biz has been going on for some time. So to keep things more lively, I’m only going to focus on brands that are new to me.

Let’s start September’s with a marketing doozy:

I have, in the past, raged against pointless misspellings. So the extra “n” in the recognizable name “Racine” was strike one for me. Strike two? Package copy that reads “Powerful anit-aging [sic] agent.” Strike three? The “About” page that reads “At it’s [sic] roots, Racinne, a Canadian Beauty Company.” A strikeout, with bonus points for unnecessary capitalization!

Next, Airelle:

Here we have the doctrine of foreign equivalents at work. Airelle is French for “blueberry.” When the product contains blueberry extract, airelle is merely descriptive of the goods. And in this case, at least as of my publication date, the PTO has correctly applied the doctrine to refuse registration of a foreign term that is merely descirptive of these goods. Airelle had better luck with Berrimatrix, the other mark on the package, and got that mark registered.

Here’s a mark I just love:

That’s Ruffian, if you can’t see it. Love the name, love the color.

Finally, here’s a product whose marketers appear to have given up on the naming process:

Even the Birchbox insert is stumped; they call the product “This Is a Sea Salt Spray.” It’s marketed by the Davines Group of Parma, Italy. You see the legend “More Inside” on the bottle? Well, it appears that’s the product line name, so other products in the line bear monikers of, for example, “This Is a Volume Boosting Mousse,” “This Is a Medium Hold Modeling Gel,” and the finalist in the Gertrude Stein competition, “This Is an Oil Non Oil.”

The Davines website clearly outlines their focus on sustainable beauty, which is laudable. More head-scratching than laudable, however, is the inclusion of Ayn Rand in their sidebar of “Things That Inspire.” Also head-scratching is their claim to have created the “Davines” name from the names of their children, Davide and Stefania. I can’t quite make that add up, certainly not in any way that gives poor Stefania equal time!

In any event, Daughter #2 advises me that salt spray is great for curly hair and is pleased to take this off my hands.

Belated August Birchbox

Don’t even ask. Back to school and the Jewish holidays make for exhaustion. So without further ado, here’s last month’s new product names:

Those of you paying attention at home may recall that the last Birchbox haul also contained a product with “one” in the name. As Nancy says, “numeral-based names are inherently risky: numbers are a code, and not everyone has the patience for deciphering.” My view is a twist on Nancy’s: I don’t mind deciphering if there’s a story behind the number. But if all your branding discussions and experts have led you to the exciting choice of “one” or “1”? I don’t need to decipher that you’re probably lazy.

Next, too much story here from Whish:

Whish has a charming story of how it came into being – indeed perhaps a bit too charming for my jaded taste. It’s an interesting product line, though, and appears to be trying to fill a long-felt need for more sophisticated women’s shaving products. However, I’m not fond of mark alteration, so I’d caution them against using their distinctively-spelled “Whish” mark as a plural – here, “Three Whishes” – it makes their mark too literal and weakens the core Whish mark, in my book.

Finally, there’s this eyeliner from Mally:

When I reach the Mally website, a pop-up asks me to “get fiercely connected,” so I’m definitely ready for excitement here. Mally aficionados are referred to on the site as “Mallynistas,” so my excitement quickly wanes. Mally is Mally Roncal, a famous makeup artist. My excitement vanishes completely when I see on the “About Mally” page that Mally wants every woman “to look as ‘gorgois’ [sic] on the outside as she feels on the inside.” But I have a nice new “Sailor” eyeliner here that I plan to enjoy!