Twice a year, off I go to Discount Tire - snow tires on, snow tires off. Yesterday was on, and because there was a problem with the TPMS system (wait, don't fall asleep yet!), I spent the better part of two hours there.
I'm not knocking their service - they do a great job, and once you're just exchanging your snows and regular tires, they charge the ultimate price: Nothing. However, the magazine selection leaves a lot to be desired. No news magazines to speak of, and the choice is starkly delineated along 60s gender stereotypes: You men get your Field & Stream, and we of the daintier sex get our Better Homes & Gardens. And there's only so far I'll go to bust the stereotypes, so BH&G it was.
So first this ad caught my eye:
Is it Face Everyone for Every Day? Everyone Face for Every Day? Face For Every Day Everyone? Feveryone Face for Every Day? I couldn't even find the photo once I'd named it because the name confused me so much.
Then there's this one, thanks to Big Pharma:
Zell-janz? Ex-el-janz? Or is the last syllable pronounced German-style, "yahntz"? It makes "tofacitinib" seem like child's play.
FloorLiner ... why, because it lines the floor? And another hint, if you're using it in text as the object of the verb "provides," your use of "absolute interior protection" is also descriptive and thus not appropriately asserted as a trademark.
This has been another public service message from Your Trademark Curmudgeon.
Sometimes I think I have the attention span of one of my teenagers. I'm just not as excited as I used to be about the arrival of the Birchbox. I got bored with the Ladybrain tippling too; maybe I need a new source of trademark amusement.
Still, maybe there's a reason I'm bored. Could it be ...
I only include this repeater because of the marginal excitement I'm experiencing trying to figure out just what "Water Fuse" might mean for my skin.
Then, a totally random name that I applaud only for its lack of descriptive character:
I'm going to assume that it's an ivory lace colored highlighter and not a highlighter for ivory lace.
And now, the winner in the clutter/overclaiming class:
Bare Love. Not all that interesting. But that's not all: There's Oliolove, and Luxury Body Fuel - all of these are claimed as trademarks. Not all that interesting, but as always, when it's about cures for dry skin, I'm a bit more indulgent.
Still ... I may have to go back to drinking with my ladybrain for more trademark amusement!
Vowel shifts, regional pronunciation differences, slang ... all of these should have been considered before this name crossed the Atlantic from Sweden:
In case you can't see the URL, it's "mybonahome.com." "BonaFide Fanatics" is clever, I'll grant them that. But BONA? With headings like "Use My Bona Product" and "Bang Up Bona Savings"? IS IT JUST ME? AM I STILL TWELVE?
This is from Be Magazine (another of my stash from DeGaulle). I can only assume they have the same lack of familiarity with American slurs and vulgarisms as the French marketers tossing around the f-bomb with reckless abandon that David Lebovitz recently observed.
Thinking about it though, I'll give a French magazine more of a pass than I do the NFL. So to speak ...
Remember my kvetching about Acne Jeans and what a ridiculous name it is? Sure you do. And it still is ridiculous, IMHO. Well, hold on to your emesis basins, because here comes another one, straight out of the pages of Marie France magazine. The latest kids' jeans brand:
Where do I begin? Is this name meant to evoke the endearing nature of a child performing a digital excavation of his nasal passages? I'm just not buying it. But take a look at the website and its charmingly mangled English: "[E]ach material choice has been tought [sic] to guarantee children a good feeling in their jeans whatever if it's a slim, straigh [sic] or comfort fit." A good feeling in children's jeans is probably not what we want to be touting here. But there's more: Finger in the Nose promises that these jeans are "[a] simple yet clever product, capable of following the child everywhere and for a long time to go." So basically these are stalker/molester jeans? A good translator would've gone a long way here.
What a beautiful progression a French child can undergo: From Finger in the Nose to Acne. What's next for jeans for the middle aged? My suggestion: Lumbago. You're welcome.
Once again, I headed to the ville lumiere; this time, accompanying my parents to attend the 80th birthday celebration of a dear family friend. So between the kilo of magazines I picked up at the airport (hey, we all have our drugs!) and the photos I took along the way, there's plenty to blog about.
This is a restaurant whose name has amused me for the past several years, and I now share it for your amusement as well:
That's "Speed Rabbit Pizza." I always envision a rabbit on speed - if it were Speedy Rabbit, maybe it'd work? Peu importe, c'est amusant.
As I've said before, just because you can doesn't mean you should. I'll say it again:
I'm not even going to link to this one because it gets worse. Normally I'm a great booster of our local bounty, but this time I'll pass. (Plus, salad dressing and marinades are about the easiest things a home cook can whip up, so I almost never buy bottled anyway.)
A visit to Grinnell College brought me to Iowa for the very first time. Great college and great people and let's just hope they love our daughter as much as we do. On our way back to the airport we stopped in Des Moines, where we enjoyed the sights, sounds, and smells of a food festival.
This stopped me in my tracks, however:
I'd say this is a law school exam question waiting to happen.
This Birchbox biz has been going on for some time. So to keep things more lively, I'm only going to focus on brands that are new to me.
Let's start September's with a marketing doozy:
I have, in the past, raged against pointless misspellings. So the extra "n" in the recognizable name "Racine" was strike one for me. Strike two? Package copy that reads "Powerful anit-aging [sic] agent." Strike three? The "About" page that reads "At it's [sic] roots, Racinne, a Canadian Beauty Company." A strikeout, with bonus points for unnecessary capitalization!
Here we have the doctrine of foreign equivalents at work. Airelle is French for "blueberry." When the product contains blueberry extract, airelle is merely descriptive of the goods. And in this case, at least as of my publication date, the PTO has correctly applied the doctrine to refuse registration of a foreign term that is merely descirptive of these goods. Airelle had better luck with Berrimatrix, the other mark on the package, and got that mark registered.
Here's a mark I just love:
That's Ruffian, if you can't see it. Love the name, love the color.
Finally, here's a product whose marketers appear to have given up on the naming process:
Even the Birchbox insert is stumped; they call the product "This Is a Sea Salt Spray." It's marketed by the Davines Group of Parma, Italy. You see the legend "More Inside" on the bottle? Well, it appears that's the product line name, so other products in the line bear monikers of, for example, "This Is a Volume Boosting Mousse," "This Is a Medium Hold Modeling Gel," and the finalist in the Gertrude Stein competition, "This Is an Oil Non Oil."
The Davines website clearly outlines their focus on sustainable beauty, which is laudable. More head-scratching than laudable, however, is the inclusion of Ayn Rand in their sidebar of "Things That Inspire." Also head-scratching is their claim to have created the "Davines" name from the names of their children, Davide and Stefania. I can't quite make that add up, certainly not in any way that gives poor Stefania equal time!
In any event, Daughter #2 advises me that salt spray is great for curly hair and is pleased to take this off my hands.
Don't even ask. Back to school and the Jewish holidays make for exhaustion. So without further ado, here's last month's new product names:
Those of you paying attention at home may recall that the last Birchbox haul also contained a product with "one" in the name. As Nancy says, "numeral-based names are inherently risky: numbers are a code, and not everyone has the patience for deciphering." My view is a twist on Nancy's: I don't mind deciphering if there's a story behind the number. But if all your branding discussions and experts have led you to the exciting choice of "one" or "1"? I don't need to decipher that you're probably lazy.
Next, too much story here from Whish:
Whish has a charming story of how it came into being - indeed perhaps a bit too charming for my jaded taste. It's an interesting product line, though, and appears to be trying to fill a long-felt need for more sophisticated women's shaving products. However, I'm not fond of mark alteration, so I'd caution them against using their distinctively-spelled "Whish" mark as a plural - here, "Three Whishes" - it makes their mark too literal and weakens the core Whish mark, in my book.
Finally, there's this eyeliner from Mally:
When I reach the Mally website, a pop-up asks me to "get fiercely connected," so I'm definitely ready for excitement here. Mally aficionados are referred to on the site as "Mallynistas," so my excitement quickly wanes. Mally is Mally Roncal, a famous makeup artist. My excitement vanishes completely when I see on the "About Mally" page that Mally wants every woman "to look as 'gorgois' [sic] on the outside as she feels on the inside." But I have a nice new "Sailor" eyeliner here that I plan to enjoy!
I’m a female Jewish lawyer, so naturally, I have many opinions about lots of topics, some trademark-related and some not, which I’m trumpeting to the world on this blog, mostly for my
own amusement! None of these meanderings and opinions, however, should be taken as legal advice. You want that, contact me at Jessica at jessicastonelevy.com.