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Finding Humor in Trademarks(tm)?

Cliff posted more than 13 years ago | from the poking-fun-at-the-corps dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 48

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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Stuff that matters. (1)

Trak (670) | more than 13 years ago | (#214727)

Now that's a winning slogan.

Silly Trademarks (3)

Chris Hiner (4273) | more than 13 years ago | (#214728)

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.

Powerful, indeed (1)

Mumble01 (5809) | more than 13 years ago | (#214729)

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.

Re:Moronic slugout (1)

Mumble01 (5809) | more than 13 years ago | (#214730)

I'd rather be a dummy than an idiot. In other words, I may be dumb but I'm not stupid.

Cambridge Technology Partners (2)

PD (9577) | more than 13 years ago | (#214731)

gave all their employees orange yo-yo's that said

We're in the TORRID ZONE!

Nazi (tm) (1)

Robin Lionheart (14795) | more than 13 years ago | (#214733)

When TSR's Indiana Jones RPG, miniatures, and related products came out, much was made of the "Nazi(tm)" trademarks [] , used under authorization of LucasFilm. However, the trademark actually applied to the word in conjunction with specific artwork.

A couple jump to mind... (2)

sharkey (16670) | more than 13 years ago | (#214734)

"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.


A common misconception (2)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 13 years ago | (#214735)

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.


Re:Here's one I saw today (2)

Borg#9 (25179) | more than 13 years ago | (#214736)

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

more mcdonalds.. (3)

mrzaph0d (25646) | more than 13 years ago | (#214737)

from this [] page, all these are trademarks of mcdonalds:







MCDirect Shares










Teriyaki McBurger

Vegi Mac

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

In a crowded elevator (1)

Tony-A (29931) | more than 13 years ago | (#214738)

Reach out and touch someone.

Re:Here's one I saw today (2)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 13 years ago | (#214739)

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 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 |

Re:more mcdonalds.. (2)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 13 years ago | (#214740)

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 [] . True to their name, they serve perfectly adequate sushi at a great price.

Office Depot (1)

sigma (53086) | more than 13 years ago | (#214741)

My personal favorite is "Ba Da Bing Ba Da Boom"(tm), a registered trademark of Office Depot.

BTW, one can search for trademarks here [] .

Re:more mcdonalds.. (1)

babbage (61057) | more than 13 years ago | (#214742)

McDonalds has a trademark on "gospelfest"???

Not even, say, "mcgospelfest"?

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

Moronic slugout (2)

babbage (61057) | more than 13 years ago | (#214743)

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!

Names.. (1)

rocca (61281) | more than 13 years ago | (#214744)

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.

Re:more mcdonalds.. (2)

po_boy (69692) | more than 13 years ago | (#214745)

I'll have a McBaby with cheese extra value meal with a coke, please.

Joe Boxer (1)

chocolatetrumpet (73058) | more than 13 years ago | (#214746)

Joe Boxer [] underwear - "Change Daily!" TM

umm... a planned obsolecense of sorts?

Re:more mcdonalds.. (1)

Webmoth (75878) | more than 13 years ago | (#214747)

Mc*® is a registered trademark of McDonalds®.

Re:Slashdo........ (redundant) (1)

Webmoth (75878) | more than 13 years ago | (#214748)

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.

Slashdo........ (2)

Webmoth (75878) | more than 13 years ago | (#214749)

News for Nerds. Stuff that matters.

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

This is news? This matters?

Re:more mcdonalds.. (2)

// (81289) | more than 13 years ago | (#214750)

But note the obvious missing one.... McJob!

Re:more mcdonalds.. (1)

Kendroid (85323) | more than 13 years ago | (#214751)

All your McTrademark are belong to us(TM).

Re:University of Alberta's slogan (1)

RGRistroph (86936) | more than 13 years ago | (#214752)

Same pun on the Register's slogan,

"Biting the hand that feeds IT"

bizarre underwear slogan (1)

mehu (92260) | more than 13 years ago | (#214753)

on the tag of Joe Boxer underwear:


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.

McOz (2)

Xenex (97062) | more than 13 years ago | (#214754)

'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 [] . Why not McGerman?)

GE (2)

cybermage (112274) | more than 13 years ago | (#214755)

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.


Here's one I saw today (4)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 13 years ago | (#214756)

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 [] , which seems to be slogan-less.

McLobster (1)

doconnor (134648) | more than 13 years ago | (#214757)

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.

Re:Moronic slugout (1)

Rylfaeth (138910) | more than 13 years ago | (#214758)

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' ;)

Re:Moronic slugout (in Japanese) (1)

Nishi-no-wan (146508) | more than 13 years ago | (#214759)

In Japan, these are copied as:

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

I wonder if the first astronauts were given such manuals.

ByteBlaster(tm) (2)

DeeKayWon (155842) | more than 13 years ago | (#214760)

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.

University of Alberta's slogan (2)

Echo|Fox (156022) | more than 13 years ago | (#214761)

... 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.

My favorite McTrademark (1)

CorporateProgrammerD (170692) | more than 13 years ago | (#214762)

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.

Pretty Silly (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 13 years ago | (#214763)

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.

Re:University of Alberta's slogan (1)

flikx (191915) | more than 13 years ago | (#214764)

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.

Personal Slogan (1)

wardomon (213812) | more than 13 years ago | (#214765)

"I have no motto!" has always been my motto.

stupid college ads. (1)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 13 years ago | (#214766)

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.


Re:My Favourite: (1)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 13 years ago | (#214767)


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.

Re:University of Alberta's slogan (1)

ffsnjb (238634) | more than 13 years ago | (#214768)

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...

Re:Here's one I saw today (1)

Grayswan (260299) | more than 13 years ago | (#214769)

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.


trademark (1)

Iron Webmaster (262826) | more than 13 years ago | (#214770)

Ada(r) by DOD(!r)

Re:more mcdonalds.. (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 13 years ago | (#214771)

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.

Re:more mcdonalds.. (1)

MulluskO (305219) | more than 13 years ago | (#214772)

I see that wager and raise it:

Black History Makers of tomorrow

Is this a reference to McJobholders?
That's harsh. Dial 911-ACLU.

Got one (2)

Brainboy (310252) | more than 13 years ago | (#214773)

Smile(tm) - McDonalds

By the way First Post

AdCritic!! (1)

JiffyPop (318506) | more than 13 years ago | (#214774)

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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