Friday, November 14, 2008

Of Trademarks and Bling-Blings

My mail yesterday contained a catalogue from an upscale retailer, featuring very expensive jewelry, eye glass frames, and other fashion accessories. I was reviewing the catalogue with the TV set playing in the background, turned to the nightly news. The news spoke of another 100,000 + American workers who lost their jobs during October.

Trademarks of several very well known merchandisers were prominently featured in the catalogue. Each trademark appeared on a product adjacent to an extremely high price tag.

The nightly news explained that about one million American jobs have been lost so far this year. I personally know lawyers who are losing their legal jobs.

The prominent display of trademarks in the catalogue adjacent to the extremely high prices immediatley created a shock in light of the ongoing economic news. Just as quickly, I wondered how the perceived value of the prominently displayed trademarks adjacent to the extremely high prices would be viewed by the readers of the catalogue. Would they be off put as I was? Would they react negatively to future sightings of these well known brands in other venues?

If the purpose of a trademark is to act as a source identifier, so as to sum up in one convenient symbol a specific message to a consumer, then negative consumer reaction to these bling-bling marks may well prove, once again, that trademarks do work. They are powerful. Hence, be careful of the message, direct or subtle, on which they are used.

~ Mike Ratoza

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