Yesterday, while on the highway heading to a client meeting, I noticed a truck that looked like this:

It reminded me of the plentiful ink we’ve spilled over the years about singular iconic non-verbal logos that can truly stand alone. Remember Seth Godin’s generous insights shared, here?

Given the dominant display of

What do you think, is Overstock.com selling bling with the Fordless blue oval logo?

Enamel Turquoise with Blue Ovals Bangle Bracelet

As you may recall from my post back in September, Ford Motor Company is attempting to register the below shown non-verbal logo as a trademark for a variety of goods in Int’l Class 12:

Mark Image

And, as you may recall from Dan’s I See Blue Ovals post back in August, there are far more than a handful of blue oval logos out there besides this one:

 

The pending Fordless blue oval intent-to-use trademark application recently was examined by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), and on October 23, 2009, the PTO found no substantive bases for refusal, but instead it issued an initial refusal noting only a couple of purely procedural or technical deficiencies, concerning the wording in the lengthy description of goods and the need for Ford to submit a claim of ownership to some related registrations (here, here, and here).


Continue Reading

Cadbury Adams, a Cadbury Schweppes Company

My recent family road trip through the heartland had me spending more time than usual pumping gas and shopping in convenience stores, so a few chewing gum brands “gone single letter” caught my eye. As you may recall, I already have reported on Single Letter Envy in Hotel Branding. Well, it appears that the quest for single or one-letter brands is not limited to the hospitality industry (let alone others I’m sure to write about in the future), but has “stretched” to the confectionery industry too.

Turns out, both single letter gum brands that caught my eye are owned by the same company, Cadbury-Adams, part of “Cadbury plc – a leading global confectionery business with the number one or number two position in over 20 of the world’s 50 largest confectionery markets.”

Yes, Cadbury Adams has migrated from its long-lasting Bubblicious brand name (having equal style for each letter) to a differently styled beginning B in Bubblicious, and most recently, to the letter B, standing alone, front and center on packaging; fully-truncated to B, as shown above. So, in our ever-abbreviated and truncated branding world, where G now means Gatorade (among other things, as a previously blogged about here), B now apparently means Bubblicious, and S now means Stride (another Cadbury Adams chewing gum brand). Might care be in order to avoid having these two brands appear side by side on store shelves — at least in the order appearing above — to avoid some unintended combined meaning of the brands? Perhaps one of the “sticky” consequences of single letter brands is the temptation others may have to spell alternate and unfavorable words and acronyms with them.

As you might imagine, confronting these single letter brands raises a number of questions in need of some answers. For example, are single or one-letter brands for chewing and bubble gum, just the latest flavor trend, or are they here to stay? Why are they currently so appealing, at least to Cadbury Adams? Are there other single letter gum brands in the marketplace, or just B S? Lastly, what are some of the legal ramifications of branding single letters for confectioners?

I’ll leave the first two questions for others to chew on — especially marketers, but I’ll take a crack at the second two.


Continue Reading

Even young children understand the power of brands and trademark symbols before they can read.

Years ago, when my children were at the ripe young age of wondering (and maybe caring) what my job was, I’d try to explain the kinds of things a trademark attorney might do. Of course, I didn’t tell them some view trademark types as “the most basic figure.”

It took a while to find a message that stuck with them. What finally got through was when I posed a hypothetical question, asking whether they liked eating at the Golden Arches, and what they would think if they couldn’t get a Happy Meal there because it wasn’t McDonalds after all, but some other restaurant using the Golden Arches too. They were outraged this could ever happen.

So, the Golden Arches can probably stand alone.

Here is another non-verbal logo that can truly stand alone:

Yes, it functions as an exceedingly strong and probably famous brand and trademark with no further explanation or word mark to support it (and to not undermine my point, I’ll refrain from uttering the four letter brand name firmly linked to it in our minds).

What do you think about this one?

(As you may recall, Dan previously posted on a different topic related to this logo here).

I’d respectfully suggest that when the hang-tag attached to the luggage item bearing this logo is closely supported by a lot of words like SWISSGEAR, WENGER, and FROM THE MAKER OF THE GENUINE SWISS ARMY KNIFE, the logo is having a tough time standing alone and probably needs a trademark support group.

By the way, anyone notice the resemblance to the flag of Switzerland?

How about the International or American Red Cross?

Last thought, for now, concerning non-verbal logos, really:


Continue Reading