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Mayhem: Ahem, Metaphorically Speaking

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

Metaphors are a good choice for trademarks. A metaphor typically requires some thought, imagination or perception to understand the connection between the mark and what’s for sale.

Remember what a floating feather might suggest metaphorically? Yes, a good night’s sleep. So, the symbol works well as a distinctive non-verbal trademark for a pharmaceutical sleep aid.

Metaphors are everywhere. According to James Geary, we utter about six metaphors a minute. He also notes: Aristotle’s classic definition of a metaphor is “giving the thing a name that belongs to something else.” This approach serves as a powerful trademark tool too.

Over the weekend, during the constant barrage of nauseating political ads, I found myself more focused on the few interspersed commercial advertisements, allowing me to appreciate the metaphorical thinking embodied in Allstate’s Mayhem ads:

“The character Mayhem is essentially a metaphor for any disaster that might befall a member of the target demographic, and tries to warn people that if they don’t have enough insurance coverage, they could have to pay for it out of their own pockets.”

Sure enough, Allstate has secured inherently distinctive federal service mark registrations for MAYHEM, and the slogan MAYHEM IS EVERYWHERE for: “Insurance services, namely, writing and underwriting insurance in the fields of property, liability, life, and casualty, and providing ancillary services thereto, namely, administration and claims adjustment; financial sponsorship of athletic events; financial sponsorship of charitable organizations.”

As it turns out, MAYHEM also serves as a branding metaphor and suggestive, federally-registered trademark for all kinds of different sporting goods offered by all sorts of brand owners: Scheels’ towable floats, Eastman’s archery arrows, Lost’s surfboards, Crosman’s airsoft guns, Rawlings’ lacrosse equipment, and Rawlings’ baseball bats.

So, not only are metaphors everywhere, but it appears even non-Allstate Mayhem is everywhere too, at least in the world of sports equipment.

Ahem, of course, none of that equipment would be appropriate for any of the athletic events sponsored by Allstate’s Mayhem.

By the way, in case you’re wondering, Havoc is everywhere too . . . .