Doesn’t this ad really just say “hey, ladies, it’s okay to drink alone?”
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but why not make it explicit rather than a hidden message on a bottle?
You would think that in naming a product, maybe it would be wise to avoid a euphemism for excrement, right? Seems like that’s a basic proposition that everyone can agree on, right? Well, apparently you’d be wrong. I don’t know why these folks chose CAcafe as their trademark, but I can promise you that capitalizing the first two letters doesn’t stop me from seeing the caca here:
Apparently, others are on to the caca too.
Sometimes you honestly don’t know where product brand names come from, especially if you’re a bargain shopper like I am and you frequent off-brand, low price establishments like TJ Maxx and Tuesday Morning (the latter of which makes me really feel like I’m slumming it). So often at such stores it’s a challenge to separate the wheat from the knockoff chaff. So when I saw this one I was pretty confident it was chaff:
Where do I begin? Well, how about Sicily? Gela is a small city on the southwest coast of Sicily that is the home of a huge oil refinery. Which therefore makes it the Secaucus of Sicily, and Gela is only prettier because – hey – Sicily v. New Jersey in a cage fight isn’t even remotely fair.
Thus, having been to Gela, I can’t ever consider it a lovely brand name for any product. And I figure that any company that named its product Gela had never been to Gela, and if they weren’t smart enough to research the name of a pretty town in Sicily – of which there are many – for their product, then I can’t trust them to make a product that is worth my investment.
Not sure if everyone else views things my way, but I’m sticking to it!
Catching up again … Great trademarks, in my view, suggest something interesting about the product they’re designating, without telling the consumer exactly what the product is. These two magazine names are among the best I’ve ever seen:
This is King Arthur Flour’s magazine, and I can’t think of a more evocative name to convey the magazine’s mission – to provide baking information and inspiration. SIFT is an example of a mark that, while it is indeed descriptive of a microscopic and discrete aspect of the goods/services identified, nonetheless effectively communicates something evocative about what it identifies, yet without describing what the goods are.
So all hail King Arthur for SIFT!
In a different vein, we have LUCKY PEACH:
What a great magazine name! At best all I can get from the title is that it might have something to do with food; when I look up their website I see a standard food and cooking site. Yet at the same time, any website that runs a feature on the snackability of Trader Joe’s offerings is right up my alley. So as a brand junkie, I can state with confidence that I am far more likely to grab an issue of LUCKY PEACH off the rack at Whole Foods than I am to pick up Real Simple or Bon Appétit.
Don’t get me wrong – as the daughter of a charter subscriber to both New York and Automobile magazines, I understand the value of a descriptive name for a magazine. But sometimes, breaking free from descriptiveness can work for a magazine, I promise!
Apologies for the hiatus. Getting daughter #2 into college is no less time-consuming than #1 was. Stay tuned.
So here’s something from a weekend in Ventura, California this summer:
Crappy photography, but it’s Wienerschnitzel, “The World’s Largest Hot Dog Chain.” Ummm, isn’t Wiener Schnitzel that delicious dish of breaded and pounded veal made famous in Vienna (hence Wiener)? Why yes it is. How did we get from veal to drive-through hot dogs? Well, we borrowed wiener for hot dog long ago and its use was made ubiquitous in the Oscar Mayer Wiener jingle that pretty much anyone of a certain generation can sing start to finish. I am guessing that this is one of those situations where Americans hear a certain foreign phrase and use it irrespective of whether it means what they think it means. That is, they hear wiener and know they’ve heard wienerschnitzel so assume the two are related and why not name the wiener joint something that sounds foreign?
Well, they are related, but from a trademark perspective I actually think the name is deceptively misdescriptive! If I see a place called Wienerschnitzel, because I know what real Wiener Schnitzel is, I’m going to be disappointed when I find there’s none on the menu. But once again, I suspect I’m not the target demographic. And what those who haven’t tasted the real thing don’t know won’t hurt them.
Apropos of yesterday’s post, I was reminded of another business’s logo that cracked me up every time I drove by one of its construction sites:
Well, someone must’ve gotten the picture, so to speak, and the company has changed its name and logo. But if ever there were a logo to call to mind this immortal scene from Arrested Development, this one’s it!
Nancy Friedman has long deplored the trend of companies adopting newfangled and often ridiculous-to-pronounce or -spell names (Hello S’Moretgage). There are some companies, however, that in my humble opinion could use a bit of updating. One that comes to mind immediately is Tacoma Screw Products, long the butt of jokes from Seattle Times columnist Ron Judd (one thing I do miss about Seattle). Because, really, when your name is that hilarious the derision can far outweigh the value of the name’s communicative nature.
The same goes for this company, captured in pixels by my cousin Nancy (not to be confused with the earlier-cited Nancy):
Oh dear … On the bright side, however, the first page of Google search of the company brings up only family-friendly (or I should say, “industry-friendly”) listings. I decided not to forge on, however.
You do have to feel for these companies that incorporate descriptive terms that have an unfortunate second meaning into their names – and then you can continue to laugh like you’re twelve again!
With the usual apologies for the blogging drought, where has summer gone, etc. etc.
Now, I haven’t broken out the ladybrain in some time, but the skyrocketing popularity of rosé wine offers a few more names that skew feminine or girly. Here’s one that was a pleasant surprise despite its packaging:
The name, the flowers, the “Rendezvous Rosé” blend name – all suggest a weekend without kids, or a bachelorette party, or something otherwise trivial and feminized. Yet this wine is a delicious and spicy but dry carignane blend, and at only 13.5% alcohol it complemented our slapdash dinner nicely but could easily stand on its own as an aperitif.
Spotted in Denmark: Two brands that fall into the category that Nancy Friedman calls “imperative-verb business names.” I like to call them hortatory marks.
The first is the fabulous hotel we stayed in, STAY Copenhagen. No, the name wouldn’t work in the US. “Where’d you stay?” “STAY.” “No, I asked you.” You get the picture. No matter, it was a fantastic sleek, Danish modern (duh) hotel where they upgraded us to the penthouse suite for no apparent reason, and where we luxuriated in style with views of the up-and-coming neighborhood and the river. Not to mention the heartbreakingly attractive staff and the cute grocery store downstairs with fresh strawberries to die for … Okay, I digress. But STAY plays cute with its name, as you can see here on the Do Not Disturb sign:
And if you plunk around on its website, you’ll see they really leverage the “stay” wording, in a way that I’d hate for a US trademark client but can be much more permissive about where English doesn’t reign entirely supreme.
In the same imperative vein, we were exhorted to have lunch at Yo! Sushi at the Copenhagen airport:
My reaction? More like Yo! I’m still hungry but I have no money left!
Our beloved 10th grade English teacher, Mr. Sexauer (I kid you not!) is responsible for probably fully half of my prodigious vocabulary. Every week he assigned a list of spelling and vocabulary words from the book we were reading, and we dutifully memorized those definitions verbatim.* So when I was uploading this photo and considering what to write in light of my scatology theme, I had a flashback to one of those tests:
Yes, that’s right: Eschatology – “the study of great ends.”
Thanks, folks, I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your server.
* I’m really not kidding. To wit: “Epigram – witty pointed saying.” “Sophistry – unsound series of clever-sounding reasoning.” “Atavistic – return to the primitive.” Mr. S generally presented the definition of this last one by jumping down on all fours underneath an unwitting student’s desk. There truly was nothing like 10th grade honors English at Fox Lane High School back in the 70s.
I know, right? Not Paris, not Sicily. The Levys are branching out! We took advantage of Volvo’s spectacular overseas delivery program to visit Denmark and Sweden, and we were not disappointed. (Except by the rain and cold. If I never see a certain v-necked gray sweater of mine again, it’ll be too soon.) Great food, scenery, museums, and people. The language, not so much; devoted readers know what a language whiz kid I think I am, but Swedish and Danish? Just impenetrable.
Still, there was entertaining/scatological branding galore. First on the list? This charming hat shop in Copenhagen:
Is that just like a small fart? I can’t even begin to guess, because the language, as I said, is impenetrable.
Next, also in Copenhagen, we have an impenetrable carshare slogan:
But funny, of course, because I’m twelve.
Next stop, a 7-11 at a gas station on the highway in Sweden, where we drove our new Volvo to visit my husband’s college roommate. (Think “Welcome to Sweden” but in reverse. Sort of.) And though we really had to get back on the road, I honestly could’ve spent all day savoring product names … like this one:
And this men’s shop was closed when we walked by, thus suggesting it didn’t live up to its name:
That’s the entertaining start to our Scandinavian odyssey; more to come!
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:
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.
Okay, I can understand not promoting our cannabis industry too flagrantly in tourism promotions – our appeal shouldn’t be so limited that it repels potential sectors of the market.
But this ad for Colorado tourism?
Apart from its calling to mind the infamous “Daisy ad” from 1964 (about which here), why does the ad show more of the cloud than of the beautiful blue sky? Why do the mountains fade and lack defined peaks? Why rely on the trite “memory-making” theme? Why couldn’t I photograph the ad without including my thumb? Listen, our never-ending cold spring ended, finally, today. The sun is shining, we may not get rain till later in the day, and people are smiling again after a month’s gloom. This ad captures little of the joy of being in Colorado. And believe me, there’s plenty to be had.
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:
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:
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!
… 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.