It is probably fair to say from my initial Just Verb It? post, the many articles referenced in that post, the substantial panel of commentary to the post, and additional interest in the topic, that at least two truths about “brandverbing” are beyond much, if any, debate: (1) Lawyers (including the International Trademark Association’s guidelines on proper trademark use) routinely advise brand owners not to use their brands as verbs; and (2) many marketers pursue brandverbs anyway, believing that any legal risks are outweighed by any marketing gains in solidifying the brand as a referent for the entire category.
Indeed, the marketers at Culver’s Restaurants, a fast-growing regional fast-food chain in the Midwest, apparently are better arm-wrestlers than their lawyers, as evidenced by their “verbing” of the Culver’s brand in the more than year old “Get Culverized” campaign:
Part of this on-going “verbing” campaign introduces numerous “Culverisms” that appear not only in advertising, but on soft-drink cups and to-go bags. (Apparently Culver’s has disregarded the memorable and humorous advice of “Ferris” in one of my favorite films, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: “-Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself.”)
At any rate, Culver’s is not alone in embracing “brandverbs” as the marketers at Microsoft also appear to have convinced their legal team that “verbing” can’t be all bad, at least, with respect to the new Bing search engine brand name, where Microsoft writes to consumers: “We sincerely hope that the next time you need to make an important decision, you’ll Bing and decide.” (My prior post on Bing is, here).
Even the Yahoo! Company Store is selling these promotional “brandverbed” bumper stickers:
So, what do these companies know or at least believe that others on the “straight and narrow” don’t know or at least believe?
Stay tuned for Part III of the Just Verb It? series on DuetsBlog, coming soon.