–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications

Every now and then, I find pearls floating in the tide of print advertising. These two, for example.

First is the Kiton ad, one of a series the company is running. I liked the whole look and feel of it right away, but didn’t know anything about the company.

I like it even better after doing a little research and learning that Kiton prides itself on its fabrics and the quality of the clothing it creates using them.

These ads work on multiple levels. First, they stand out both for their striking simplicity and for the visual puzzle: why the red dot covering the head? (At least, it’s red to my color-challenged eye.)

Beyond that, the more you look at one of the ads, the more attention to detail you see. There’s deep creative thought behind these.

More important, the first ad you see imprints visual clues that unmistakably identify every subsequent ad you see as a Kiton. In the sea of luxury-good advertising, you too often have to glance at the company name to see whose ad it is.

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the big creative questions is, “How can we indelibly link the company or product name to the creative idea?” Kiton’s campaign achieves this, not least by linking the red-dot head with the red dot on the Kiton i.

Incidentally, the dot over the head probably has an additional benefit for Kiton. Rates and residuals for models vary depending on the image used. Because the Kiton models are unidentifiable, their rate is likely lower than if we could see their faces. Small change in the larger scheme of things, but a benefit for Kiton nevertheless.

The other pearl is this ad for the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M. In case it’s not clear, the tuxedoed Daniel Craig is up to his chin in water. It’s a great visual that pays off the promise that the watch “will take you from the bottom of the sea, to the center of attention, and the top of the world.” Form and function married with fashion illustrated by a brilliant concept.

The producer and promoter of the James Bond movies Danjaq, LLC has filed an opposition to the intent-to-use application for the mark “.007%” with the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”).  You may have seen some of the 007 movies, including:

Dr. No (1962); From Russia With Love (1963);Goldfinger (1964); Thunderball (1965); You Only Live Twice (1967); On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969); Diamonds Are Forever (1971); Live And Let Die (1973); The Man With The Golden Gun (1974); The Spy Who Loved Me (1977); Moonraker (1979); For Your Eyes Only (1981); Octopussy (1983); A View To A Kill (1985); The Living Daylights (1987); License To Kill (1989); Goldeneye (1995); Tomorrow Never Dies (1997); The World Is Not Enough (1999); Die Another Day (2002); Casino Royale (2006); Quantum of Solace (2008), Skyfall (2012), and Spectre (2015) (collectively, the “James Bond Motion Pictures”).

Many people debate who the best Bond has been: is it Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig (I am doubting there are many that would pick Timothy Dalton)?  My favorite is Daniel Craig, and I enjoyed the Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace movies best.  Skyfall was good too. But, I digress.

.007 Percent, LLC touts itself as an exclusive, invitation-only, social network for Bond villains aimed at the richest people in the world.  Specifically, the application at issue seeks to register “.007%” in connection with various goods and services, including: computer services; electronic delivery of images, email and photographs via a global computer network; providing on-line chat rooms and electronic bulletin boards for transmission of messages; streaming of data; and video broadcasting services, in International Class 38 and online social networking services, in International Class 45.

Here is a full description of the goods and services contained in the application.

In the Opposition, Danjaq asserts that “[t]he 007 Marks are extensively used in connection with, and to market and promote, the James Bond Motion Pictures and a wide range of goods and services.”  “Opposer and its predecessors have invested substantial time and expense promoting the James Bond Motion Pictures and the 007 Marks.” Accordingly, Danjaq asserts that “[a]s a result of extensive sales, advertising, and promotion of the James Bond Motion Pictures and the broad range of products and services sold or offered under the 007 Marks for decades, the 007 Marks have developed enormous goodwill and secondary meaning, and they are famous under 15 U.S.C. §1125(c).”  Danjaq asserts claims of likelihood of confusion, likelihood of dilution of its famous 007 Marks and that there is no bona fide intent to use the .007% marks in commerce for the goods identified in the Application.

This is not the first time Danjaq has taken legal action to protect its 007 marks.  Indeed, Danjaq spent more than fifty years battling script writer Kevin McClory who worked with Ian Fleming who famously authored the original novels.   The dispute was finally resolved in 2013.  Further, Danjaq was able to obtain rarely afforded copyright protection for the Bond character itself.  Finally, Danjaq filed oppositions against applicants seeking to apply for the trademarks “Super Bond Girl,” and “Inspiration Shaken and Stirred.”

James Bond has been a topic before on DuetsBlog, including here and here.

Will .007 Percent secure its trademark registration?  Who is your favorite Bond actor?

"The name is Bond, James Bond," said Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Daniel Craig, among others, countless times in film, as part of the famous 007 series. An ideal name for a secret agent. A name and line not easily forgotten, as brands and taglines should be.

And then, there are some names you’d like to forget, but can’t, especially if they are associated with personal injury lawyers, who probably "suk" even more than trademark lawyers (who merely have been dubbed the most basic figure), right?

Well, using Dan’s post from Friday, as a catapult (or, perhaps a hole-digger) for discussion, I’m thinking the jury is still out on 3 being the magic number, at least as it pertains to the 3 letters forming a rather rare surname (Suk) and the same number of words forming a curious (and hopefully misdescriptive) law firm name (Suk Law Firm), so, sorry Dan, I’m not sure there is any way to pull a rabbit out of the hat on this troubled tripartite branding combination:

Seeing the signage here, I’m thinking that any new or temporary receptionists at this law firm automatically require more intense phonetic training than your average law firm receptionist. In fact, this little gem (hat tip and photo credit to Max) probably rivals those spotted by Mark Prus in his recent guest post entitled: "Name Development Faux Pas, a.k.a. What Were They Thinking?!"

Ironically, the tagline for the Suk Law Firm is composed of these 3 words too: "Think About It."

So, I’m assuming they followed their own advice and did, but nevertheless, it probably came down the same way the Drury Inns name did, since the surnames in question no doubt have a great deal of goodwill associated with and emotional attachment to their founders. Might a naming consultant, nevertheless have said, forgetaboutit?

In any event, one of the things I’d be inclined to think about is how the brand name might sound when spoken, especially in a world where word-of-mouth marketing is key, and also how it might be perceived by those in the relevant public, given the possible truncation from its four-letter cousin. Apparently Suk, when the surname meaning is intended, sounds like "cook" or "book," not "pluck" or "stuck." Oh, the things phonetic punctuation symbols can and should be used to do, to help guide the intended meaning by signaling long and short vowel sounds! 

On a related note, it reminds me of the unintended meanings that can result when critical spacing is omitted, as was the case, between the branded words "LA  MER" to yield LAMER.

Although mispronouncing the Suk surname may be bad enough, when one examines the derivation of the name, it doesn’t appear to improve much on the meaning front either, since Suk apparently is not only a nickname for a "powerful, unyielding man," but also a "stubborn, awkward one". Hmmm, it’s all beginning to make sense now.

For those with any modicum of lingering interest, the Trademark Office’s treatment of SUK appears below the jump.

Continue Reading Tripartite Branding Trouble: The Name is Suk?