Destination: Corona del Mar, California

So of course there has to be a juice bar, right? Because California, right?

I just can’t decide whether or not this is what I call a shitmanteau (and yes, if you follow me on Twitter you are well aware that I am trying to make #shitmanteau happen) – i.e., a portmanteau that just doesn’t work.

I think I’m going to err on the side of calling this a shitmanteau because the “sej” part of the word is so incongruous to the English language.  But your mileage may vary.

Meanwhile, the Summer House restaurant just next door was a superb lunch location and our weekend getaway to sunny southern California was everything we could’ve hoped for – good friends, good food and wine, serious Fitbit mileage, real estate envy, and always, always in the OC (don’t call it that), quoting from Arrested Development.


The magazine for magicians

Bought a shirt with this label recently:

Not so sure that’s the best branding. Poof, or poofter, is a derogatory term for a gay man. Wordnik also notes that it’s a term used by magicians to indicate a “sudden vanishing.”

Naturally, the apotheosis of both these meanings can be found in this Arrested Development clip, which I invite you to savor as much as I have.

Another fun fact: Poof can also mean the product or sound or act of flatulence! Don’t say I’m not trying to find entertainment where I can!


Law school exam question

I sent this photo straight to Professor Levy when I saw it. I think it’d make a great exam question for next year’s class at CU Law.

Gary Poppins

Who would be the plaintiff here? P.L. Travers’s estate? Disney? And isn’t the mark somewhat tortured anyway? “Yeah, Poppins because it’s popCORN, get it?” Unless they were going for Poppuns – which I doubt …


Destination: Disney World’s Wee Britain and Japan

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:


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

Thanks. Don’t forget to tip your waiter.

Bang the head slowly







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.

Destination: Germany and Lufthansa

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:


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

I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it

Can someone please help me out with this one? I’m having a bit of difficulty here:

It’s a pet food/stuff brand that I found at Sprouts. I see from probing around that the brand name is the title of an Avett Brothers song (You may recognize it better by the refrain “Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in.” Or not.) The company’s website makes it even more complicated by saying “We’re ‘I and love and you.'” To me it sounds like reading a teenager’s text message out loud.

My verdict: as a song title, “I and love and you” is clunky enough; as a brand name, it’s just confusing.

(And yes, I’ve used this post title before. But the wisdom of Lucille Bluth cannot be invoked often enough.)

Destination: The ski resorts of Summit County, Colorado

We need more snow, but that didn’t stop us from heading to the mountains for the MLK weekend. Some good skiing, some good dining (mostly thanks to yours truly – try this for a crowd-pleaser), and some interesting branding.

First, at Pug Ryan’s Steakhouse and Microbrewery in Dillon, good food and good beer AND smutty beer names:
Made us think back to driving past the Church of the Big Wood near Sun Valley in Idaho … (there’s gotta be a better way to say that!)
Then, in the “glad I don’t represent large luxury brands so I don’t have to be a bad guy” category we have this one from the main drag in Breckenridge:
Very cute poodles inside and out, but not a name I’d have chosen – at least not without solid legal representation and the money to spend on it!

Destination: Noto

Sicily is a vacation gift that keeps on giving – not just the wonderful memories and recipes, but the blogging material that I culled is well out of proportion to the nine days we spent there.

This ad for an upcoming blues festival performer that we found in a cheerful gelateria in Noto (the site of several other eye-popping finds, as you may recall) still blows my mind:
Do you think he chose this name because he’s rotund? Or do I have to post this again as a cautionary tale?

Not again!

Okay, who’s the wiseguy who sneaked this one through?

Yes, it’s a doozy. Have I not said before that (a) you shouldn’t use weight-related terminology when marketing to women; and (b) you should check Urban Dictionary before settling on a product name or trademark, particularly when your colleagues are snickering as you proudly announce the new Chubby Stick? (Did they even look at the product?)

I once again turn to Arrested Development for validation of my discomfort with this name, and shall let the words of Tobias Funke illustrate the magnitude of this naming decision.

I’d say they blew it.

Too much work for a drink

One of my general admonitions for clients about their trademarks is that they should neither turn them into plurals nor chop them off to make nicknames.  There are exceptions to every rule – Coca-Cola became Coke, and Federal Express became FedEx, with little damage to the brand’s renown or image.

I am not so sure it works as well in this case:

I’m sorry, “Belve” just does not roll trippingly off the tongue. It’s too close to “belch.” Is it a combination of “belch” and “hive,” perhaps? Do you want to know? Do you hear yourself asking the bartender for a Belve and tonic, or a Belve martini straight up with a twist? No, you don’t, because it sounds ridiculous.

Then, to the ad itself: Tying “Belve” to “Believe,” with the inserted “ie” in a blurred, tomato-red font? All I can read there is “Lie.”  And I doubt that’s what they intended. But what did they intend here?  Believe in bloody Mary flavored vodka? Believe that this couple is getting dangerously close to Newport cigarette ad territory?

Alternatively, we can probe other paths they can take with Belve: “It’s twelve, time for Belve!” “Don’t shelve the Belve!” Or not . . .

Once again, I can only fall back on the immortal words of Lucille Bluth: I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it.  And don’t forget while we’re talking Bluth lore (or at least I am, as I’ll never stop), vodka goes bad once it’s opened.