Latest Articles

Jason Voiovich Last week, we saw the latest installment in the “trademark bullying” saga. But this time was different. Instead of lawyers fighting amongst themselves, DuetsBlog brought out the big gun: Seth Godin. You can read the entire piece here. I like Seth Godin, and so do lots of other people (hence, the “big gun”). I read the comments (over 30 from my count). It seems to make people feel better to have…
Seth Godin It’s not good marketing and I’m pretty sure it’s not good law, either. It seems as though Entrepreneur magazine (who should know better) is working with Latham and Watkins (who should certainly know better) to persist in their relentless efforts to bully entrepreneurs to stop using the word ‘entrepreneur’. And yes, it’s a word. Not a fanciful or inherently distinctive trademark, a word. Almost 800,000,000 matches in Google. One of the only…
– Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash It’s that time of year! Baseball Spring Training is here! In honor of this, I’m looking at the fun names in Minor League Baseball. Some of them demonstrate the key principles of name development! Minor League Baseball team names can be dull and boring. For example, there are some that just reflect the name of the parent Major League Team (e.g., Oklahoma City Dodgers, Syracuse Mets, Springfield Cardinals or Iowa…
–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Every now and then, lightning strikes where a creative team sees a terrific, fast-turn opportunity to have a little fun. I think of them as targets of opportunity. We had one some years ago when we were in the midst of creating a series of mailers for a search-technology client. Early in December, the spark hit and we scrambled to make this idea happen in time: Looks like lightning struck…
— Jessica Gutierrez Alm, Attorney No one does the Carlton quite like Carlton Banks.  (Queue Tom Jones’s It’s Not Unusual.)  Since actor Alfonso Ribeiro first performed the unique dance on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, it has been readily associated with him.  When the dance move recently appeared as a purchasable avatar dance in the popular video game, Fortnite, players quickly recognized Carlton’s signature move.   Fortnite is a battle royale-style combat game in which…
– Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash In a recent article in The New York Times, John Williams discussed the evolution of our language through the “vowel dropping” trend. He mentions the use of vowel dropping in naming tech companies, as tech companies like Tumblr and Flickr dropped vowels “…both for distinctiveness and because the altered names made it easier to trademark, claim domain names on the internet and conduct other practical business.” In my book…
–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Back in the ’70s, National Geographic ran a story on Boston firefighters. The writer mentioned a barb that a fireman tossed his way. “Ya gonna do another silver jets piece, huh?” Adding sarcastically, “Ya know: silver jets of water piercing the dark sky as they bravely battle the inferno…” I owe that firefighter a debt. Since I read his diss, Silver Jets has been a mental caution sign against veering…
–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications I try to focus my commentary on good creative work. Otherwise, I’d be posting multiple times a day because there’s so much mediocre or outright poor work. But today, I can’t resist Moen’s running full-page ads for its new Flo product. On a field of irregularly scattered, different-size circles filled with ones and zeroes—”digital” water, get it?—the headline reads We Hacked Water (So It Can’t Hack You). Huh? The body…
– Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Mastercard has become the latest company to shift to a “no name” approach to branding. Of course, they aren’t the first to do this (see Nike, Starbucks, Apple, Target, etc.). We are living in an image-driven world (e.g., Instagram) so this trend is not surprising. A Mastercard spokesperson said: “As the consumer and commerce landscape continues to evolve, the Mastercard Symbol represents Mastercard better than one word ever could, and…
— Jessica Gutierrez Alm, Attorney The Boy Scouts of America (BSA)’s decision last year to end its boys-only policy was met with mixed reactions.  Some lauded it as a progressive victory.  Others, including former Girl Scouts, viewed it as a thinly-veiled corporate strategy and a loss for girls.  As part of an early adopter program, more than 3,000 girls have already signed up to be BSA Cub Scouts. To help solidify its more inclusive…