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!
There are some brands that linger in your memory because you’re eternally twelve years old, and this is one:
(Photo from Wikipedia).
Yes, Pschitt, a French citrus-flavored soda, has enchanted me since I first saw it in 1978. I’ve even blogged about it in the past.
So, following on the trend of product naming that perhaps might be, shall we say, unsettling, I offer you this:
Pschitt skincare. Or let me clarify – Pschitt Magic.
This certainly offers an excellent textbook example of what dilution by blurring might look like, but my bigger issue is that of the term’s significance in English. We trademark lawyers are always cautious about proposed marks that might mean something unsavory in a foreign language, and I’m surprised Garancia’s marketing team thought it was okay to sanction a mark that suggests to an English-speaking consumer that her treatment is nothing but “magic shit.” Between shit on my face and perfume that smells like shoes, I’m so far not seduced by French branding!
LOTS of magazines this time, so let’s have at it:
Is anyone else mildly disturbed by the idea of a perfume from a famous shoe designer? L’eau de Choo? To me, the Jimmy Choo brand means shoes, and shoes alone, and I think migrating the brand to fragrance could be challenging. But I guess to others, a luxury brand is a luxury brand, whether on feet or elsewhere.
Because I am a sucker for insight into lifestyles of the rich and famous, and the schadenfreude that reading about that brings, I just took advantage of a $2 subscription to Town & Country magazine. Dazzled, I tell you, I was dazzled by all of the jewels shown “price upon request” and the name-dropping of royals throughout.
I was less dazzled, I must confess, at the egregious misspelling of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris as “Bologne.” That’s a firing offense for any publication (in my exacting view of the world), but particularly in one where all things Paris are considered the ne plus ultra.
Also concerning – though more on an annoyance level – was the script used to promote this perfume from Sisley:
Well? You tell me what that first letter is. Oh, I see, it’s in the hashtag. But wait, is that an i or a lowercase L? And then I just decided, having seen Sisley products in French department stores, that in the immortal words of my mother, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. (And perhaps recognizing the impenetrability of this script, Sisley added a more legible font to its promotion of this perfume on its website.)
Hard pass on this shampoo:
It translates as “castor,” but out of an abundance of caution I think I’ll stay away from anything that even remotely suggests poison.
I’ll grant you there’s a potential for innuendo here (if you’re twelve, and I still am), but given how it appears one is supposed to use this, at least the lay versus lie problem is addressed correctly:
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.
… finds the name of this company (from a tweet promoted on Hootsuite) to be pretty funny:
Forever young, as I like to say!
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:
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.
It’s bad enough that the Teen Spirit brand tarnishes Kurt Cobain’s memory. But this is even worse:
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.
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:
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!
Yet still satisfying:
Right there alongside my Raspberry Beret lipstick.
I’m not sure what Guerlain is saying here:
Yes, lashes from hell. If hell is other people, what are lashes from hell? This has been your existential advertising question du jour.
With thanks to Daughter #1 for, at my request, shlepping French magazines home from her choir’s tour of Barcelona and Nice. It’s the least she could do …
Every once in a while I think it’s important to give credit to a particular brand for listening to their trademark lawyers and branding consultants, and not picking a completely descriptive mark.
Here’s a good example:
Living Proof – a solid, non-descriptive, suggestive mark. I’m assuming that it’s the line name and that Perfect Hair Day, a much less suggestive mark, is the product name. But again, Living Proof is an excellent beauty product or haircare name.
However, Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 styling treatment? A mouthful. (Not to mention the cutesy P H D initials …) While I applaud the affixation of a generic term (that’s “styling treatment”), it’s still tough for the consumer to keep track of all of these “long-ass names” (as blogger Poppy Buxom points out) to ensure she’s buying the correct product. Case in point: Garnier recently discontinued my favorite hair goop, and I set out to find hoarded backlogs on Amazon. Well, the full name of said product is “Garnier Fructis Style Survivor Tough it Out Glue with natural cactus extract – Extreme.” It took me ten minutes to sift through the names of all the available Garnier Fructis products and photos for me to verify that I wasn’t buying something that’d make my hair cling to my skull.
Bottom line? All of this fine print really makes it hard on us femmes d’un certain age who need reading glasses!
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.
Marie-Claire UK, the gift that keeps giving. This one’s not UK-specific, but I just had to comment on the cognitive dissonance of this ad campaign:
Where do I begin? With Boss Jour Pour Femme, in French for a perfume from a German company? With the clanking “Boss Jour” combo itself? I find the juxtaposition of these two words strangely disturbing and can’t quite put a finger on why. The tagline, “This Will Be Your Day” sounds more like a movie slogan than an enticement to purchase perfume. Is it the interior half-sideboob? The murky yellowish morning light, which suggests Beijing pollution rather than Tuscany sunrise? Or is it merely Gwyneth Paltrow’s preternatural smugness? I’m going to leave it at all of the above, but welcome insight.