. . . they’re still showing (and looking at) butts:
I don’t know, this month’s haul seems to be more the result of perspiration rather than inspiration, in the words of my 10th grade English teacher.
I promised; now I’ll deliver. Here it is once again, Nuvo:
In case you missed it, there was big news in France a few months ago: the government officially ordered the honorific “Mademoiselle” to be removed as an option from official forms. The origin of the term was effectively “damsel,” which indicated a woman’s status as unmarried, as “Miss” does in comparison to “Mrs.” here. Madame, it appears, will function as “Ms.” does here, to identify adult women regardless of age or marital status. Some in France may balk at the change; I sent an email to a hotel clerk last summer and addressed the woman as Madame Untel (untel being French for “so-and-so”) – but her reply was signed Mademoiselle Untel. Old habits die hard, I guess.
This month’s Birchbox shipment is sponsored by CW and the show “Gossip Girl.” So I’m thinking what’s inside will not be targeted to my demographic:
I represent Pacific Bioscience Laboratories in connection with trademark work; they are now owned by L’Oreal, which makes Kerastase products.
Drinking with my ladybrain – you were wondering where it went? Have no fear, it’s coming back, now that I found this:
As you know, I am a sucker for lavish misspellings, particularly French ones. I recently bought a globe at T.J. Maxx that featured the continent of “Norta America.” Now I need to stalk my local HomeGoods store (the non-clothing offshoot of T.J. Maxx with a positively awful name, IMHO) until this chef d’oeuvre is reduced from its original price:
Quite a while ago I commented on a French toilet paper whose slogan was “one sheet will do,” and concluded that thinking about what that meant made me not want to buy it.
I am sure I bought this lovely Airwick candle because it was on sale. It’s winter, and I’m cooking a lot, and I like to give the house a fighting chance not to smell like a soup kitchen. But I managed to get a chuckle out of this packaging:
My toy poodle hasn’t been featured recently in these pixels (hey, I can’t really say “in these pages,” now, can I?) but she’s always either on my mind or at my feet. I recently let my daughters take a stab assisting me with Ladybrain shopping at Incredible Wine & Spirits, one of our wine shopping mainstays. In loving tribute to our Reggie, they quickly zeroed in on this one:
I tried. Really, I gave them more than the benefit of the doubt (and my Riedel stemless-ware). But these two wines just left me disappointed.
It’s that time of year again, and it almost passed me by. I’ll blame jet lag – we just got back from two weeks in France, and boy are my arms tired. Yeah, that one never gets old.
é, we chose wine-tasting over getting trendy haircuts.
Anyway, I cannot believe I’ve been doing this for four years. It is, as we say in France, dingue. I am lucky that the branding world keeps providing me with ample subjects for commentary.
Let me just tell you, by the time you get to the end of this post, you won’t believe I dared to introduce it with the topic of my kids’ taste in candy . . . In October of 2008, I took our daughters to Paris to spend a week there along with my parents. We had a great time and I found lots of blog fodder there. One of the highlights for the girls was the discovery of Kinder’s Happy Hippos candy at the Frankfurt airport. Since that trip, we’ve brought these delicious treats back from Nice, and have had friends returning from Europe stow them in their luggage. Until today, however, I’d thought they were unavailable in the US. Well, great news: my eldest was informed that Cost Plus World Market has the little critters in stock. Trying to retain my Best Mother in the World title intact for 2011, I raced off this morning a la recherche des bonbons hippopotames.
Help me out here:
It’s not a roux – that’s a flour and fat-based thickener for a sauce or soup. If they mean rouille – a garlicky, peppery sauce for bouillabaisse – maybe they need to go back to the old Larousse Gastronomique for some spelling help. (Rouille, by the way, means “rust,” hinting at the color of a good rouille.)
What I suspect, however, is that “roui” is merely an attempt to simplify the spelling to aid in the pronunciation of the word. This dumbing-down has the unfortunate effect of ripping the term away from its roots and meaning.
Worst of all, however, is the extremely unappealing photo of the so-called roui atop a tomato round, then perched atop a slice of melba toast that’s far too large for the tomato round. Hors d’oeuvre faux pas, to say the least!
Ridiculous and/or nonsensical misspellings, preferably French, just tickle my fancy. I have no problems with English misspellings as well – don’t get me wrong. If I had my druthers I’d wander the streets of Paris looking for cute but nonsensical or misspelled English phrasing on clothing or other items. But life here must go on, so here for your consideration is a wonderful example of the genre straight from T.J. Maxx:
Sadly, there does not appear to be a verb “tamier” that translates into something nasty that would make this item a true find – i.e., it’s no Zizi or Lelo. Still, the butchery of the intended French phrase (“Je t’aime”) is solid, so I’m pleased to welcome it to my new category, Spelling Gaffes.
For chrissakes, if you’re not sure, check the spelling on the goddamn bottle:
I often find myself having to explain to clients that the first person to invent something that creates a wholly new category doesn’t also get to protect the name of the invention. My favorite example is cookie dough ice cream – great idea, but the company that first created the taste sensation may not prohibit its competitors from calling their products by that name.
Moreover, under US trademark law, abbreviations for descriptive or generic terms are not entitled to trademark protection. For example, “TV” is no more protectable than “television,” and “BLT” no more protectable than “bacon, lettuce and tomato.” (Mmm . . . bacon . . . )
That’s apparently not the case in France. One of the finest culinary joys you can experience in France is in the candy department: caramel au beurre salé
, or in English, salted butter caramel. The caramel can be found all over France, not only in the form of candies, but also as an ice cream flavor or filling for a pastry (try the Aoki tarte featured here).
Self-styled “caramelier” and chocolatier Henri Le Roux claims to have created the delicious substance back in 1977. But he took the creation a step further, and sought and received trademark protection for the mark “CBS” to cover “Chocolats, glaces comestibles, crêpes, biscuiterie, gâteaux, sucreries, à base de caramel au beurre salé.” Let’s just say that that wouldn’t fly at all here in the US, and it’s a reminder that every country’s laws regarding trademark protection vary.
Nonetheless, bravo, Henri: Keep the caramel coming even though you’re overreaching on the trademark front!
H/t David Lebovitz
As my faithful blog readers (Hi Dad!) know, I have a lot of foreign language study under my belt. The French you’re no doubt aware of, but I also studied Spanish, German, Russian and Hebrew, not to mention the few words of Bahasa Indonesia I picked up when I spent two months there in 1984 working for a law firm that represented Bank Indonesia. I consider my accumulated skills in those languages to be an asset for my clients: I have often steered clients away from marks that, while innocuous or nonsensical in English, are obscene or otherwise offensive in other languages.
These guys should’ve checked with me first:
Unless, of course, you consider Wiener or PeePee a good brand for a knife.
So this year’s fall break took us to Disney World. With the opportunity to sample food and wine from around the world at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, I couldn’t object. It was indeed an excellent trip, with a few trademark-related items of note.
Having a few languages besides English under my belt can be a blessing and a curse, I sometimes find. My mind twists the meaning of words, brands, and names among the languages in which I call myself a dilettante, until there’s a veritable cacophony going on inside my head. So when we visited the Norway pavilion at Epcot (herring! herring!), I saw this candy bar and cacophony erupted:
I don’t speak Swedish (turns out the shop does not discriminate among Scandinavian companies and their products), but I do speak French, and in French, “daim” means “suede.” So I’m thinking the name either sounds like “damn” or means “suede,” and I get so confused and then it’s time for our dinner reservation and I didn’t buy the daim thing and apparently, according to my food guru David Lebovitz, I’ve made a big mistake because this candy is just delicious.
Oh well, when Ikea opens here in a few years, I’ll have my chance again. I’ll just be prepared for the cerebral onslaught the name triggers.