Under the Sandwiches category: “Smashed Burger,” is treated generically as a type of sandwich burger, along with “Kobe Beef” and
Especially, despite our previous cautions:
In the meantime, we’ll keep watching out for marketing pitfalls and unnecessary marketing copy that…
Caution must be exercised in advertising and marketing materials when the brand owner desires ownership of non-traditional trademarks such as product configurations (here and here), trade dress, and single color marks too.
In our ongoing effort to raise the awareness of marketing types to pitfalls that can kill non-traditional trademark rights, a…
While visiting SmashBurger this weekend, I noticed a new drink cup, and I anxiously examined it, wondering whether it had been updated to remove the previously devastating (to a trademark type) language: “Where SMASH means we literally smash 100% Angus beef at a high temperature to sear in all the juicy burger goodness.”
—David Mitchel, Vice President of Norton Mitchel Marketing
Successful brands often find holes in markets that need to be filled. There are numerous examples to illustrate this point. Microsoft found a great niche in the computer software market and their success made Bill Gates one of the richest individuals on the planet. Apple’s iPod was a product innovation that really enhanced the company’s bottom line. In the 1980’s, Porsche expanded their line of sports cars into a new niche with the 944 and it helped save the company from bankruptcy. However, sometimes holes exist for a reason and they can’t be filled despite the best branding efforts.
The latest example to illustrate this is Devotion Vodka. Devotion Vodka is a protein based vodka. The protein used in Devotion is casein, the same type of protein found in dairy products. According to its website, Devotion is "the world’s first and only 80 proof, triple-distilled casein infused vodka made in the USA". Recently, Devotion announced that they signed Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino of "Jersey Shore" fame to be their spokesperson. Additionally, The Situation will have an equity stake in the company. I believe The Situation is a reasonably qualified spokesperson for this brand. The Situation likes to drink and party as evidenced by his actions on "Jersey Shore" and he is also a fitness enthusiast.
Despite the alignment between The Situation and Devotion Vodka, it is unlikely that this will be a successful brand. This is because the product concept is flawed. The vodka is aimed at a fitness oriented individual. However, vodka is not perceived as a fitness oriented beverage. Additionally, I believe that people will have a hard time understanding how casein protein fits into a hard alcohol product. If the product concept flaw wasn’t a convincing enough argument, consider Devotion’s pricing strategy. Devotion will enter the market similarly priced to Grey Goose. Grey Goose is a vodka brand that is well perceived and associated with quality. It also holds cachet with those who live a Jersey Shore style lifestyle, a target market for the Devotion brand. In a consumer purchase decision between Devotion and Grey Goose, the vast majority of consumers should choose Grey Goose because of its brand equity and stronger price-value proposition.
Of course, this promotional piece took me back to my early childhood and called to mind my long lost enormous collection of Matchbox brand Hot Wheels toy cars and racetrack, but it appears there is no connection with the miniature toy vehicle maker — the winning prize was not a toy replica, but a genuine 2011 Ford Mustang.
Last week we blogged about the dreaded D-Word and how some marketers unwittingly undermine trademark rights in a brand name by explaining that the name "describes" or is "descriptive" of the goods or services sold under the brand.
We also have blogged about the danger of "taking a suggestive name, mark, or tag-line, and using it descriptively in…