Tag Archives: Branding

Reclaiming Mary Poppins and the Characters We Love

28 Jul

Or, The Opening Ceremony Challenges Copyright Law, Whether it Means to or Not

Mary PoppinsLike millions of others around the world, I spent last night watching the Opening Ceremony.  Unlike millions of others, the part that captivated me wasn’t the parade of nations, but the “Second Star to the Right” theatrical sequence.

In this bit of public theater, director Danny Boyle reclaimed the British people’s ownership of their children’s literature, the rights to which have long since been sold off to various corporate interests.  Depicting Mary Poppins battling Captain Hook, Voldemort, and the Queen of Hearts, Boyle claimed these beloved characters as part of the broader British narrative.  In doing so, he challenged the idea that these characters, or any characters, can belong to someone. Continue reading

An AppStore a Day Keeps the Lawyers… Involved?

23 Mar

Amazon and Apple are at again, hashing out trademarks and usage of terms that one considers generic and the other proprietary.  Amazon has launched an “AppStore”, which Apple seems to close to its “Apple App Store”.  According to Social Times, Apple has filed a lawsuit and is seeking damages from Amazon.

Towards the end of their article, Social Times asks:

Can the history of the term “app” be traced and attributed? How common is the term? Is “App” the new Kleenex- a brand which has become synonymous with an item? For all the users – who have no stake hold in the term – does anyone really care?

I’ve always been interested in what happens when a brand becomes synonymous with an entire product category, known as a colloquial brand.

I also found this list of The Top 100 Brands Synonymous with Their Product Category.  (Should that be “Their Product Categories”?)  I was surprised by a lot of them, including these:  Zipper, Popsicle, Ping Pong, Heroin, Dumpster, Dry Ice.  More can be found here.

Here’s what I always wonder: is this a good thing or a bad thing for a company?  It’s good because it means that their product is successful, the most successful and well known in its category.  But, it’s bad in that they lose (at least some) control of their brand.  Is this something that brand mangers strive for or fear?

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