Not all ambush marketing is created equal. Some can cross the line and create a likelihood of confusion as to sponsorship. Some falsely advertises. But, some is totally fair use and lawful.

This current promotional banner by La-Z-Boy is capitalizing on the excitement surrounding the upcoming Super Bowl weekend festivities, but without reasonable risk of heat from the NFL:

The same can be said for this Lunds & Byerlys in-store signage, with the local grocery chain having tiptoed around the issue entirely by using the Big Game code word instead:

Love the fine-print shout out to local darling, Surly’s Cynic Pale Ale, and the additional shout out to Surly’s “Over Rated” — and clever jab at West Coast IPAs — thankfully no risk of offending all the visiting fans from the East Coast for Super Bowl LII.

By the way, since the Home Team, won’t be playing, merely hosting, which team do you favor from the East Coast, the Philadelphia Eagles or the New England Patriots?

Brent Carlson-Lee

I’m a huge supporter of the growing food entrepreneur community in Minnesota, and am amazed by the number of the great products that are now on shelves in grocery stores and co-ops across the country.

Bee Free Honee, an all-natural, plant-based honey substitute.

Seven Sundays, an all-natural gourmet muesli.

Philia Foods, a ridiculously good feta spread.

But every once in a while, I need to scratch my head.

Consider this product available at Lund’s. Cocky Pop, a “caramel coated popcorn infused with cashews, pecans and almonds.”

Sound familiar?

Poppycock® is “a decadent blend of Orville Redenbacher’s® light, fluffy popcorn and premium whole nuts — all covered in a sweet, indulgent glaze,” produced by ConAgra Foods®.

So, we have a knock-off product that appears to be blatantly trading off of a registered trademark of a $15 billion company.

And did you happen to notice the name of company that produces Cocky Pop?

We Are Nuts…yeah, I’d say.

File:Minneapolis seal.gif   File:StPaulSeal.png

An open call for change. Change where it counts, in brands.

Don’t read this if you have a closed mind and can’t imagine a different future beyond tomorrow. You know who you are, this will make you cringe and we don’t need that on our conscience.

For the remaining, take a minute to consider that a city government and a business are fairly similar. They have income, expenses and they provide services to a specific audience. They employ people and should be governed by the same natural economics that exist for all organizations (for profit, government or not-for-profit).

Now consider the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul) as two similar organizations. They have a fair amount of duplication, providing similar services, having similar roles, similar physical proximity, similar missions, etc. Yet, to this day they are separate operating organizations.

Yes. The suggestion here is a merger of cities and a merger of brands. Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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If you need examples, look to Budapest (Buda and Pest) and New York merging with Brooklyn. If you’re wondering why there are no other modern examples, welcome to my world of wonderment.

Now, before your head starts to move back and forth, this doesn’t mean we eliminate half the jobs. Though if you’ve been through a merger, there are efficiencies to be found in duplicate roles. It does mean someone has to figure out the brand strategy behind two merged brands. You could treat it like the two are still separate, but run them from one back office, creating the efficiencies of one government while still having two cities. Look to Byerly’s and Lunds as a great example of how this could be accomplished. Or merge them in under an existing brand name (Twin Cities) would also be a good option. The last two options would be a new name entirely, which would be an interesting challenge if we involved voters in the naming decision. Lastly some smerging of the two names (Minnstpauleapolis) which would certainly not be our suggestion.

Whatever the strategy, the savings would be tremendous. This isn’t savings to the organization, but rather savings to each citizen of these two great cities. If they were two businesses a merger would have occurred long ago.

 —Aaron Keller, Capsule