The Big O

No, you smut-for-brains out there, O, the Oprah Magazine.  As “traditional” women’s magazines go, it’s really the best out there for women of a certain age.  I may even subscribe, although the mailbox can barely withstand yet another magazine.  And for all the blog fodder I get, I really could consider deducting it as a business expense, no?  Yeah, keep trying with that one.

Well, this month’s magazine offered not only a bounty of branding novelties, but also a quote from my friend Susan Kleiner, nutritionist and author of The Good Mood Diet.  So bravo, O, for recognizing talent and wisdom even though you captured only the tiniest morsel of what Susan has to say.  (And Susan’s recommendations for foods that help your mood are spot on: flaxseed and eggs – who knew?  Susan did – take a look.)

Now, back to branding.  I hereby bestow an amazing second Alt-0174 Award to Vanity Fair for its CURVATION line of intimate apparel.  I am extremely impressed with the glamour conveyed by the mark and the website.  The mark is coined yet suggestive, and the accompanying slogan is sexy rather than scolding (there’s no “for us full-figured girls” type of copy).  Plus, they’ve got Queen Latifah as a spokesmodel, and she rocks the house.

Next, Dial.  Oh dear.  When I get yogurt on my hands, my immediate reaction is to wash it off.  Yet Dial asks in a new ad “why make a hand wash out of yogurt?”  Are you really asking that?  If any rube (i.e., yours truly) can respond to that question by saying “the @#$%! I know!” why forge ahead with this?  Bottom line, it sounds gross.  I see that the product is being launched alongside a men’s liquid soap called Blue Grit – now that one, I love, not least because it of course makes me think of Blue Steel of Zoolander fame.  Only because of Blue Grit am I not writing Dial off completely, because yogurt on the hands?  Well, for those of us who are not all that remote from the baby-feeding years, just no.¹ 

Next, and you knew it had to be coming once I made my strident and catty voice public, BITTEN?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all over the democratization of fashion.  I am hell-bent for leather against the notion of proprietary rights in fashion designs. [UPDATE: And I am not alone!] (I agree with Ecclesiastes when it comes to fashion design – truly, there is nothing new under the sun).  But BITTEN?  Troubles me for lots of reasons.  First of all, do you pronounce it with a hard “t” or with the dreaded glottal stop  Like “bit-in” or “bit-ten”?  Second, it smacks, as it were, of morning-after hickeys or bruises in a not particularly life-affirming way.  Third, the "Manifesto" – it’s a grammatical trainwreck, and it’s killing me.  Sarah Jessica, I loved you to pieces as SanDeE* in LA Story – have seen it countless times and am prone to hollering “Full service, Mr. Telemacher” at the gas station.  But Bitten just doesn’t ring classy;  it sounds trashy and makes me think of someone who needs a shower and a hot meal.

Finally, the most wonderful public service message I’ve ever seen: McCormick’s “Do you know the signs of aging?” ad showing their old spice containers – and how if you have the ones shown, they’re at least 15 years old and should be thrown out.  Mom?

With best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.


¹ Further evidence that “Yogurt” in the name is the kiss of death: “Grilled Chicken Yogurt” was the name of a restaurant here in our little town that met with a speedy demise, as I recall, almost immediately after its opening.  I am sure the recipe was just delicious, but the name itself was truly unappealing.

² Fun fact: I know someone with two glottal stops in his name – Quentin Martin.  Say it soft and it’s almost like . . . well, a name with two glottal stops.


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