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Finding Humor in Trademarks(tm)? 48

Posted by Cliff
from the poking-fun-at-the-corps dept.
psycona asks: "I was staring at the back of a Schick razor package and saw the words SmartDesign(tm). Now if that isn't one of the most idiotic appropriations of the English language I've ever seen. Which got me to thinking. I'm pretty sure there are web sites out there that list stuff like this, but what are your favourite marketroid phrases? I'm talking about any (tm)-ed or (r)-ed word that shouldn't be, or phrases like 'Designed For Humans!' As a proud cynic and self-professed guardian of plain (or at least good) English, I'd find it amusing to know what else was out there." Well, I think I'll beat a few folks to the punch and nominate the whole "... for Dummies" line of books. I'm sure many of you have several others.
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Finding Humor in Trademarks(tm)?

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  • Now that's a winning slogan.
  • by Chris Hiner (4273) on Thursday May 17, 2001 @05:00PM (#214728) Homepage
    Or making up a word, then using it like:
    Cheer cleans better...
    "That's because only Cheer has Liquifiber{tm}."

    And only Microsoft has Windows Northern Telecom.
  • Not trademarked, but a company I used to work for sold portfolio management systems to financial institutions. They hired some fancy advertising company who came up with the slogan "Powerful Stuff" accompanied by photos of a baby wearing an overturned bowl of spaghetti, a topless man taking a shower next to a brick wall, and other incongruous images.
  • I'd rather be a dummy than an idiot. In other words, I may be dumb but I'm not stupid.
  • gave all their employees orange yo-yo's that said

    We're in the TORRID ZONE!

  • by jms (11418) on Friday May 18, 2001 @02:07PM (#214732)
    The best title in the entire series has to be The Complete Idiot's Guide To Enhancing Self-Esteem [amazon.com].

  • When TSR's Indiana Jones RPG, miniatures, and related products came out, much was made of the "Nazi(tm)" trademarks [enteract.com], used under authorization of LucasFilm. However, the trademark actually applied to the word in conjunction with specific artwork.
  • "Drivers Wanted." - Volkswagon. It's been years since they've been looking, and they still haven't found any, at least judging by the people in the commercials.

    "Software for the Agile Business" - Microsoft. 'Nuff said.

    --
  • Although the trademark symbol is placed so that it looks like White Wolf publishers have trademarked such common words as 'Vampire' and 'Mage' (The is above and to the right of the word 'Vampire' on the cover, for instance), the actual trademarks listed on their web site are: "White Wolf, Vampire: The Masquerade, Vampire: The Dark Ages, World of Darkness, Aberrant and Mage: The Ascension are registered trademarks of White Wolf Publishing, Inc."

    However, if you really like making sure you are in explicit control of your works, you slap the following into every one of your books:

    © 1990-2001 White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the written permission of the publisher is expressly forbidden, except for the purposes of reviews, and blank character sheets, which may be reproduced for personal use only. White Wolf, Vampire: The Masquerade, Vampire: The Dark Ages, World of Darkness, Aberrant and Mage: The Ascension are registered trademarks of White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Trinity, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Wraith: The Oblivion, Changeling: The Dreaming, Kindred of the East, Werewolf: The Wild West, Trinity: Battleground, Wraith: The Great War, Guide to the Technocracy, Technocracy Progenitors, Technocracy Iteration X, Technocracy New World Order, Technocracy Void Engineers, Technocracy Syndicate, Technomancers Toybox, Isle of the Mighty, Digital Web 2.0, Year of the Reckoning, Hunter: The Reckoning, Mage: The Sorcerers Crusade, Mind's Eye Theatre, Mind's Eye Theatre Journal, Dark Kingdom of Jade, Ends of Empire, A World of Darkness Second Edition, Mummy Second Edition, Mummy: The Resurrection, Clanbook Cappadocian, Clanbook Nosferatu, Clanbook Toreador, Clanbook Brujah, Clanbook Gangrel, Clanbook Salubri, Clanbook Baali, Clanbook Ventrue, Clanbook Tremere, Clanbook Assamite, Clanbook Ravnos, Clanbook Setite, Clanbook Malkavian, Clanbook Lasombra, Clanbook Tzimisce, Guide to the Camarilla, Guide to the Sabbat, World of Darkness: Gypsies, Year of Revelations and all other publications by White Wolf are trademarks of White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. All characters, names, places and text herein are copyrighted by White Wolf Publishing, Inc.

    And just in case the tables turn, slap on an extra: "The mention of or reference to any company or product in these pages is not a challenge to the trademark or copyright concerned."

    And then, since you're publishing teen-killing RPGs (remember D&D during the 80s?), you add: "These products use the supernatural for settings, characters and themes. All mystical and supernatural elements are fiction and intended for entertainment purposes only. Reader discretion is advised."

    That *whole* thing is in each book published! Talk about covering all your bases.

    --
    Evan

  • How about "Build on NT Technology". Doesn't that mean "Built on New Technology Technology"?

  • by mrzaph0d (25646) <zaph0d@[ ]ztech.com ['cur' in gap]> on Thursday May 17, 2001 @07:07PM (#214737) Homepage
    from this [mcdonalds.com] page, all these are trademarks of mcdonalds:

    Gospelfest

    McBaby

    McBacon

    McBurger

    McBus

    McCafe

    MCDirect Shares

    McDouble

    McDrive

    McFamily

    McFranchise

    McHero

    McKroket

    McMaco

    McNifica

    McOz

    Teriyaki McBurger

    Vegi Mac

    at one time i know they had McLobster listed, but i couldn't find it anymore.

  • Reach out and touch someone.
  • That last link led to a page of 99.44% pure BS! That's rare stuff.

    Indeed. Notice the use of the words "proactive", "proactively", and even (I've never seen this one before...dictionary.com denies any knowledge of it) "proactivity". Four varients in one short page. I think that I shall go and proactively retch, lest the concentrated marketroid speak poison my bloodstream.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • Mc*® is a registered trademark of McDonalds®.

    This is basically true. A local restaurant decided that they would call themselves McSushi. Before they even opened, the McLawyers sent them a "cease and desist" letter. They are now called We Be Sushi [sfstation.com]. True to their name, they serve perfectly adequate sushi at a great price.
  • My personal favorite is "Ba Da Bing Ba Da Boom"(tm), a registered trademark of Office Depot.

    BTW, one can search for trademarks here [uspto.gov].

  • McDonalds has a trademark on "gospelfest"???

    Not even, say, "mcgospelfest"?

    How utterly, utterly bizarre. What are they up to? No good, I'll wager...

  • Ok, which is worse:
    • The (original?) "$foo For Dummies" series?
    • The (emulating?) "$bar For Idiots" series?

    Which would ya rather be -- condescended to, or insulted? Now you have a choice!

  • by rocca (61281)
    1. Company name: "Rankin Flowers" ... no thanks, I like mine to smell nice.

    2. Company name: "The Age of Travel", slogan: "Our name says it all!" ... I don't know about you, but it doesn't say much to me.
  • I'll have a McBaby with cheese extra value meal with a coke, please.
  • Joe Boxer [joeboxer.com] underwear - "Change Daily!" TM


    umm... a planned obsolecense of sorts?

  • Mc*® is a registered trademark of McDonalds®.

  • Forgive me. The One Before(tm) posted shortly before I did, hence his post was not seen by me prior to my clicking "submit."

    But I still think I said it better.
  • News for Nerds. Stuff that matters.

    Oh, wait. There's no (tm) or ® after that.

    This is news? This matters?
  • But note the obvious missing one.... McJob!
  • All your McTrademark are belong to us(TM).
  • Same pun on the Register's slogan,

    "Biting the hand that feeds IT"
  • on the tag of Joe Boxer underwear:

    CHANGE DAILY! (tm)

    I don't know which is funnier/more pathetic: that they have to tell you to change your underwear, or that they had to trademark that phrase.
  • by Xenex (97062)
    'McOz' in in use.

    In Australia there IS a McDonald's hamburger called the McOz. It's highlight is a slice of beetroot.

    It was out 'for a limited time' a few years back, and was supposedly so successful that they replaced the McFeast with it.

    So, yeah, the McOz exists, and you have to come to Australia to get one ;)

    (The thing is at the moment in Australia McDonalds have a a 'limited time' burger called 'Burgermeister'. The ad features a very bad German accent; supposedly the burger is German. The meat on the burger is aledgedly pork. There is even a website here [burgermeister.com]. Why not McGerman?)

  • by cybermage (112274)
    I have a friend who worked for GE. He told me that many of the employees, upon hearing the 'We Bring Good Things To Life' slogan immediately though of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster.

    Sadly, this story is a mnemonic virus. Every time I've seen/heard the slogan since, Frankenstein's monster pops into my head. I wonder if any other slogans/trademarks have been hijacked this way.

    --
  • University of Phoenix: You can do this
    Though the ads sell the idea of differentiation via higher education, the slogan cuts to the least common denominator.
    Here's some great links:

    I got these links from Google [google.com], which seems to be slogan-less.
    --

  • As I understand it, TradeMarks expire if they aren't used. That's probably what happened to McLobster.

    I remember when the Canadian newspaper, National Post, was about to be launched, thier future competater, The Globe and Mail, trademarked all kinds of names for newspapers not to use them, but to limit the choice of names for the new paper.
  • I think there should be a '... For Retards' series. It would be more specialized than the other book series, such as 'Life Goes On For Retards' ;)
    -Rylfaeth
  • In Japan, these are copied as:

    "
    Saru mo dekiru ..." --> "Even a monkey can ..."

    I wonder if the first astronauts were given such manuals.

  • Altera, maker of FPGA chips, calls their parallel cable used to interface with the programmer "ByteBlaster". With a name like that, you'd think that it's at least somewhat special, but where I work, we don't buy any - we roll our own using a 25-pin parallel connector, a 10-pin ribbon cable and a 74AC244 octal tri-state buffer/line driver. That's all it is.
  • ... is truly laugh worthy.
    "Making it happen"
    Seems innocious enough, right? Now here's the kicker. The CompSci department adjusts it slightly: "Making IT happen..." as in IT ... as in Information Technology ... as in ...groan. Make it stop. I'm sure someone thought it was very clever and all but it's just too cute for its own good.
  • Hey, they don't own "McTrademark!"

    My favorites are these

    "Made For You" (tm)

    "Hey, It Could Happen!" (tm)

    "Immunize for Healthy Lives" (tm)

    and what in heck is a "McMaco" (tm)?

    All trademarks listed are property of McDonald's Corporation and its affiliates.

  • I always considered the Swiss Army trademark (which is of course not held by the Swiss Army) to be pretty stupid.

    For starters: They don't distribute tacky watches, let alone bad smelling perfumes and if you've ever had the doubtful pleasure to be a member in this Kinderkarten-Club, you wouldn't necessarily consider this brand a commercial endorsement.

  • What's worse is that the University of Utah is known as the U .. now everywhere, on every sign, every newspaper article, every website, (even mine!) .. YOU becomes U.

    Arrghghg.. make it stop.
    --
  • "I have no motto!" has always been my motto.
  • one of the colleges here in buffalo has a special night program for continuing education. the deal is that you take 2 classes 2 nights a week and get 12 credits toward your B.A.

    ...and so there's billboards all over the nickel city that say "2 + 2 = 12".

    i certainly hope they're not trying to advertise anything even vaguely related to math education.

    --saint
    ----
  • ...yawns...

    That joke is older than your average script kiddie, and I've always heard it demean Windows users, not Mac users.

    Try to come up with something original, kneebiter.
  • heh, thats about as bad as Rochester Institute of Technology's "You're our #1 PrioRITy!" slogan. I'm glad they seem to have discontinued its usage.

    Hopefully I don't get arrested for this post, RIT has to take some criticism sometimes...

  • http://corporate.bridges.com/corp/vision.htm

    That last link led to a page of 99.44% pure BS! That's rare stuff.

    Check out the inside back cover of every issue of Consumer Reports for some of the more egregious examples of marketroid english butchering.

    Grayswan,
  • Ada(r) by DOD(!r)
  • My coworker said her and her dorm pals picked up on this in college and began inserting Mc- as a prefix to everything. Some typical combinations:

    "Let's go to a McMovie."
    "McF--- You!"
    "This paper I have to write McSucks."

    There were many more.

  • I see that wager and raise it:

    Black History Makers of tomorrow

    Is this a reference to McJobholders?
    That's harsh. Dial 911-ACLU.
  • Smile(tm) - McDonalds

    By the way First Post
    __________________

  • I can't believe we are flaming trademarks here and no one has mentioned AdCritic yet. They have some really good speculation ads and spoofs... one of my favorites is the "Passengers Wanted" spoof on Volkswagon (sorry, all of there video is in quicktime format)

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