That’s right, PSSSST! dry spray-on shampoo. A revelation 40+ years or so ago and a product that probably started returning to the market about five years ago (I’m guessing – I suddenly started getting it in my Birchbox shipments). Yes, I can remember what it smelled like, but no, I cannot remember any commercials or catchy jingles. And what a great onomatopoeic trademark!
I think it’s time for a new category. I’ve raised the same point before, but let’s just call this what it is: the Linda Richman taxonomy:
Yes, you can recite it along with me: Coastal Scents eye shadow is neither coastal nor scented. Discuss.
Ever see a product name and think “this has got to be someone’s inside joke?”
If anyone has any inside scoop, or I’m too old to catch an obvious bit of slang, let me know. Meanwhile, I do like their product name Quicksand for hair wax/fixative, and if, as they say, it’s the “Secret Goop Behind David Beckham’s hair,” (a) who am I to dispute it; and (b) it may be the product I’m looking for to keep my pixie coif in place.
Sometimes I think I have the attention span of one of my teenagers. I’m just not as excited as I used to be about the arrival of the Birchbox. I got bored with the Ladybrain tippling too; maybe I need a new source of trademark amusement.
Still, maybe there’s a reason I’m bored. Could it be …
And Dr. Jart+ is back:
I only include this repeater because of the marginal excitement I’m experiencing trying to figure out just what “Water Fuse” might mean for my skin.
Then, a totally random name that I applaud only for its lack of descriptive character:
I’m going to assume that it’s an ivory lace colored highlighter and not a highlighter for ivory lace.
And now, the winner in the clutter/overclaiming class:
Bare Love. Not all that interesting. But that’s not all: There’s Oliolove, and Luxury Body Fuel – all of these are claimed as trademarks. Not all that interesting, but as always, when it’s about cures for dry skin, I’m a bit more indulgent.
Still … I may have to go back to drinking with my ladybrain for more trademark amusement!
Only one new brand this month.
Aqua Lacquer is neither aqua nor a lacquer. Discuss.
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!
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.
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!
How embarrassing: the August Birchbox has arrived and I haven’t even gotten to July’s yet. Well, in my defense, there were a few boring repeaters, and I don’t have the interest to blog about them.
For a not-boring repeater, I give you yet another gem from The Balm:
Yes, that blush is INSTAIN! Not their best, but still good. Not sure I like “Vous va bien“ as their translation of “Wear it well” on the inside of this new-millennium compact (“Vous va bien” is better translated as “it looks good on you”), but it’s a cute color, and clever package copy as usual.
Here’s a product name I just can’t get excited about:
G-1? A trade association? And shouldn’t it be “mattifying”? I guess the excitement here is that it’s for boys too.
I’m dispensing with the rest so I can move on to August … stay tuned!
Thanks once again to Birchbox, I’ve got something to blog about. This month there are a couple of marks that rankle.
I’m not even sure there was a theme this month, but there were laughs. This item, in particular, had me roaring:
This month’s Birchbox allows me to dive deep into the nuances of trademark law – so deep that I’m going to save the rest for another day. I’m sure you’ll be glad to have taken the plunge with me, though. Here goes:
Today is my birthday, and April’s Birchbox wastes no time in reminding me that I am old, old, old.
I am excited – they went for “March Madness” as their theme for the month’s goodies, and I, for one, have no problem with this whatsoever. Likely to be confused with the NCAA? Nope. Likely to be viewed of as sponsored by or affiliated with the NCAA? Nope again. Is it March? Yes. Does Birchbox reference the NCAA sporting events that take place in March in its copy? Yes again. But I still don’t mind, because referring to the grand slate of basketball tournaments that takes place in March – and the ensuing frenzy – is appropriate, when the NCAA has elevated the annual tournament to holiday status. You can’t define a season – not to mention making untold millions from broadcast rights and tickets and all – and then tell the public they can’t call it what you’ve named it.
This month’s theme is “red carpet ready,” though I have to confess I’m weary of awards shows at this point. Too much self-congratulation, too much plastic surgery, too many toupees, and too many scarily bony women. But the products this month are pretty good – with one exception:
Something is wrong with my camera, and this month’s haul wasn’t so exciting that I felt like re-taking all of the photos. But I think that two items bear mentioning and re-shooting:
Time for a mea culpa. Remember last month when I dissed Lumiere d’Hiver shampoo saying that winter light in Paris isn’t worth devoting a brand to? Well, I was wrong:
Just hear those sleigh bells jingling … It’s the “All Wrapped Up” December Birchbox delivery, and I appreciate its celebratory yet non-denominational enthusiasm – i.e., the accompanying card is not red and green with holly on it.
So we finally gave in and joined the local health club/gym. We’re far from the oldest or least fit there, so that’s encouraging; most encouraging, though, is the salutary effect the elliptical machine is having on my elderly spine. But now I need to coordinate my routine and bring along a set of toiletries for post-workout ablutions.
This month’s haul is purportedly inspired by suggestions from goop, “a lifestyle company curated by Gwyneth Paltrow.” No, that’s a quote, as is “Gwyneth began curating the best of lifestyle.” These goop-y locutions aside, the goods are basically the same as usual, with a few points of note:
Not that thrilling a haul. Two wins targeted at my demographic, the rest silly stuff.