Remember CES 2013 when the Internet of Things was all the rage and about to take over? Well, it’s still just getting going but the market might finally be experiencing some traction. There’s a new report out by eMarketer covering … Continued
Snap Inc. is working with media companies to bolster Snapchat’s original content with mini, TV-like episodes. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Snap Inc. has signed deals with NBC Universal, Turner, Discovery, ESPN, Vice Media, and … Continued
Vinay Shahani, who helped shape Volkswagen’s messaging in the wake of the automaker’s emissions scandal, is leaving for Toyota.
Shahani, who was VW of America’s senior VP-marketing, will take over as Toyota Motor North America’s VP for integrated marketing operations, overseeing media strategy, digital and social media, vehicle incentive strategy, motorsports, engagement marketing, auto shows and other consumer events throughout the U.S. He fills a position formerly held by Ed Laukes, who in March was promoted to VP for Toyota division marketing. Shahani will report to Laukes.
Gregory Tebbutt, VW of America’s senior director for marketing transformation, strategy and communications, will oversee the marketing team until a successor for Shahani is identified, a VW spokeswoman said.
SMPL Q&A is a blog feature in which we interview experts on all things relevant to branding, design and simplicity. In this Q&A we speak with strategy director Jeff Lapatine about what companies need to know before using a dormant, trademarked name.
What should a company consider before using a dormant, trademarked name?
In the last 10 years, the number of trademark applications submitted annually with the United States Patent and Trademark Office has nearly doubled. In 2016 alone, a half million applications were filed.
With the rise of the tech industry, and a tremendous number of new companies being founded, developed and named—the finite amount of words and names is being depleted. For this reason, more and more companies are choosing to use dormant and trademarked names. When deciding to do so, there are a few things these brands should consider.
Under what circumstances can a company use a dormant, trademarked name?
First off, under certain circumstances, it is possible to use an already trademarked name. Trademark registrations are tied to specific trade classes. If a new application is for a different class of products or services, and isn’t likely to create consumer confusion, it may clear the hurdle. For example, if I’m seeking a name for a new medical device, I may be able to register one that’s also being used for a software application.
It’s also possible to register two identical names in the same class. The name “Evergreen” is registered by a number of different financial services and insurance companies in the same trade class, in large part because Evergreen is commonly used, leaving trademark protection somewhat diluted.
What should a brand consider before using a name that’s dormant but already trademarked?
Using an existing name comes with some risks, even when the prior registrant is in a different trademark class and the name is no longer actively being used. While the risks may not be legal in nature, one may face associative and reputational risks.
Consider the recent registration of the name Brighthouse Financial by MetLife for its annuities and life insurance business. While it seems like a good fit for MetLife, suggesting security and a bright financial future, Bright House Networks has been in the marketplace since 2003 serving millions with cable. Many associate the Brighthouse name with cable, which could cause confusion and reputational problems, especially because, while the image of cable companies has improved somewhat in recent years, they cable companies are still often perceived negatively. Based on a 2017 Harris Poll, both Charter and Comcast still have poor reputations. And given that annuities are often called into question as a good investment option, it seems that there is a degree of risk for MetLife to use the same name as a cable company.
Even though finding a compelling and available name is a challenge, it’s often safer to choose one without baggage or potential reputational complications.
That said, naming is a tricky and delicate art. There are many names that seem problematic at first, which then serve the brand well.
To commemorate M&M’s 75th Anniversary, Mars launched a yearlong campaign celebrating the world-famous “melt in your mouth, not in your hand” candy.
To get attendees of the M&M’s experience up close and personal with the legendary brand, Genuine helped create “Home Sweet Home,” an augmented reality activation allowing users to “virtually” walk through the door of each M&Ms spokescandies’ fictitious apartments in New York City. The Home Sweet Home experience allowed users to explore six featured apartments belonging to the respective M&M spokescandies, each created with its own flair featuring items that paid homage to iconic M&M’s campaigns spanning 75 years.
Read more about Genuine’s activation recently featured in EventMarketer.
To commemorate M&M’s 75th Anniversary, Mars launched a yearlong campaign celebrating the world-famous “melt in your mouth, not in your hand” candy. To get attendees of the M&M’s experience up close and personal with the legendary brand, Genuine helped create “Home Sweet Home,” an augmented reality activation allowing users to “virtually” walk through the door of each M&Ms spokescandies’ fictitious apartments in New York City. The Home Sweet Home experience allowed users to explore six featured apartments belonging to the respective M&M spokescandies, each created with its own flair featuring items that paid homage to iconic M&M’s campaigns spanning 75 years.
Read more about Genuine’s activation recently featured in EventMarketer.
Every weekday, we bring you the Ad Age/iSpot Hot Spots, new and trending TV commercials tracked by iSpot.tv, the real-time TV ad measurement company with attention and conversion analytics from 10 million smart TVs. The New Releases here ran on TV for the first time yesterday. The Most Engaging ads are ranked by digital activity (including online views and social shares) over the past week.
Among the new releases, Grubhub presents a fun, documentary-style short about a group of friends from Austin, Tex., debating how to pronounce “gyro,” “empanada” and more as they wait for their food delivery. In an ad for Pepsi Fire, a Dollar General store catches on fire (sorta). And Macy’s hypes its Memorial Day sale by showing ridiculously happy, attractive models frolicking in swimwear (30-50% off).
Would you buy this?
Dunkin’ Donuts is giving S’Mores flavored coffees a shot this summer, combining graham cracker, toasted marshmallow and chocolate flavors, available in hot and iced versions. Meanwhile, Skittles and Starburst are coming out with new spicy varieties branded “Sweet Heat” that were plugged at this week’s National Confectioners Association’s Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago.
Tweet of the week
For some TV networks, the Golden Age of Television is losing its luster.
MTV, A&E and WGN are all cutting back on high-end productions after failing to attract big enough audiences in an increasingly crowded landscape.
Their decision to retreat from non-reality series suggests a reckoning may loom for other networks and the studios that make shows. Last year, the industry produced a record number of original scripted programs — a total of 455. John Landgraf, head of the FX network, has warned of a glut that he’s labeled “peak TV,” arguing the networks and streaming services are making more than viewers can watch.
Nancy Green wants the company to present a more realistic image of women in the media, and a more friendly workplace for its employees.
This spring, when the women’s athletic lifestyle brand Athleta launched the next iteration of its “Power of She” campaign, the company included an ad featuring a 98-year-old yoga teacher, who says, “Anything is possible. Nothing is impossible,” as she strikes a yoga pose with a younger yogi.