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.)

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!

 

Women, that is. And in light of today’s high-stakes oral argument in the Supreme Court over access to abortion , I am posting again because Ithink it worthwhile to highlight this excellent marketing campaign for an IUD:

SKYLA

SKYLA as a mark is youthful, calling to mind the (IMHO incomprehensible but whatever) millennial craze for the name “Skylar” (and its equally icky spelling variants). But what I really like here is the “Plans prioritized” tagline. It’s an alliterative tribute to Planned Parenthood, while at the same time being nicely communicative.

Reproductive rights are human rights, and I am hopeful the Supremes will continue to recognize that fact and turn the states away from their march to the back alleys of the past.

Doesn’t this ad really just say “hey, ladies, it’s okay to drink alone?”

Santa Margherita

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but why not make it explicit rather than a hidden message on a bottle?

 

 

 

 

Bellapierre

 

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.

Would, or should, anyone really disagree with the proposition that the food you eat should taste good? I think not. But is that proposition on its own worthy of serving as a trademark? To wit:

Food Should Taste GoodW

I note that it’s registered, but think that registration won’t go far to enabling the mark’s owner to prevent others from saying – not using as a trademark – that food, in fact, should taste good. Your mission statement shouldn’t necessarily be the same thing as your trademark.

Similarly, if asked the question set out in this mark (which is registered, despite the absence of the symbol), I’d of course say “hell yeah,” though I wouldn’t necessarily view that question as a mark:

Wanna Betta Butt

While a slogan or catchphrase may be registrable with the PTO (because “Food should taste good” and “Wanna betta butt?” are not technically descriptive of the goods they designate), that doesn’t mean they’re good trademarks. Multiple word brand names do not roll trippingly off the tongue, are difficult to remember and thus susceptible to misidentification,* and ultimately make me think of one of Saturday Night Live’s most memorable fake brands, Oops! I Crapped My Pants!

 

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*Fun fact: I always refer to the women’s clothing store White House¦Black Market as “Black Tie, White Noise,” the name of a (highly underrated, IMHO) David Bowie album.

 

Mr. Levy was speaking at an ABA conference this past weekend, so spousal solidarity impelled me to join him at Snowmass, where we enjoyed great skiing and dining.

Apropos of nothing trademark-related, Snowmass is a place where you can see this ad for Bogner skiwear in Aspen Magazine –

Bogner

and think “Who on earth would ever wear that?” … And then, mere hours later, you’ll see someone at the Two Creeks chairlift wearing the exact same outfit!

Said Aspen Magazine offers so much more, though, so stay tuned.

I spend so much time and money at DSW that it’s no wonder I have been officially designated a “Shoe Lover” (duh, as if I haven’t known this since Mr. Massey’s shoe shop in Newark back in the 60s …) With me, two teenage daughters, and a husband who loves shoes too, we’re there all too often, and are all too familiar with the brands they carry.

But when I saw this one I was speechless. I don’t care how many registrations* their owner has for this mark and marks incorporating it:

Klogs

IMHO, that’s a whole lot of money spent on something that’s virtually unprotectable. Is it worth trying to buy a krazy spelling of clogs? And would you even try to enforce it? (Hint: TTABvue contains no records indicating the owner of the KLOGS trademarks has opposed any applications based on its ownership of KLOGS. I rest my case.)

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*2(f), Supplemental, and with disclaimers of the right to use “clogs” apart from the mark as shown.

Another entrant in the “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” sweepstakes:

image

 

Yes, it’s cute wordplay, and yes, it goes well with the Sexy Hair house brand.  But still, I’d prefer a bit more subtlety, perhaps because I’m fast approaching my mid 50s.

Here’s a mark I’ve never understood:

betula

Mrs. Polyglot here can inform you that “betula” is Hebrew for “virgin.” Betula is also the scientific name for “birch” – but in my book, if you’ve got one translation of a word that you wouldn’t choose as your mark in English, even if you’ve got an alternate that’s less troublesome, think twice. On the other hand, I may work at home now, and have long lost the New York lawyer panache I once had – but you won’t ever see me in Birkenstocks, virgin or otherwise! I have to maintain some kind of dignity!

I get this one, but am not so sure it’s easily understood by all:

Pois moi

Sooooo, where to begin? Well, pois in French means “polka dots.” Pas moi means “not me.” So “pois moi”? Pois also means “peas.” So pois moi = peas me?  I’m just a bit confused, once again because I know too much here. Don’t get me wrong though – I’d be very happy to wear one of these beauties around my wrist!

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.
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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.