Recovering from a nasty bout of walking pneumonia over the last couple of days, I probably spent more time (at least, mindless time) in front of the television than the last several months combined.

One thing that caught my eye during a brief and surprisingly mindful moment while I suffered was another brand to recently jump on the brandverb bandwagon, namely, Sonic America’s Drive-In restaurant chain.

Sonic is sporting this new tagline: "This is how you SONIC".

The tagline also appropriately sports an "SM" notice (to communicate trademark, actually, service mark status) and it is also appropriately supported by a federal service mark application, filed back in April, and published for opposition just days ago.

Nicely played, SONIC marketing and legal teams.

For more on the subject of trademark verbing and the risk of genericide, consider these prior posts:

I’m not worried about genericide with this SONIC brandverbing, are you?

  • The ironic part of this is that the “verbings” that are the most legally risky are the ones that are actually being used by the general public, like “to google something” or “a band-aid solution”. Those are the ones that the legal types feel compelled to war ceaselessly against, even if this seems like tilting at windmills or like King Canute ordering the tides to come in or out.
    On the other hand, trademarked names that nobody in their right mind would actually use as a verb in their everyday conversation are perfectly safe to use that way in slogans; people just find it cute, or funny, or silly, but don’t start using the name generically.

  • Domino Sugar (www.dominosugar.com) recently changed its tagline to “The Real Way to Do Sweet!” A holiday promotion will ask, “How Do You Sweet?” Still a verbing, but stronger, to my mind, than the Sonic approach: it’s not “How Do You Domino?”
    (Domino is a client of mine, but I wasn’t involved in the tagline.)