Eyes Wide Open

March 11th, 2011 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

“You can observe a lot just by watching.Yogi Berra

Yogi’s taken a lot of flak for his whack-a-do pronouncements and command of the language, but I think he might have been onto something here.

We all live in the world. How do we miss stuff? We have an insane number of news sources – Internet, newspaper, network news, 24-hour cable news, e-mail, Twitter, Time, Newsweek. And we have unprecedented access to information about previous eras. I was just reading about the Norman Conquest…about 945 years after the fact. It’s all very literally at our fingertips.

At the same time, we also can suffer from information overload – I’m lookin’ at you, publicity machine for every lurch in Charlie Sheen’s self-implosion.

That aside, we learn by living and paying attention. So it’s not too defensible when we marketers, of all people – who put words in corporate mouths – deliver half-baked ideas that a little observation could have prevented. I submit:

– One of the Big Three car makers (the big One, actually) named a new car Beretta. If they’d been paying attention, they might have saved the half-million dollars it cost to settle a trademark infringement suit by the Italian gun maker. Don’t they go to the movies?

– There are translation sites all over the Web to run searches on potential names in other languages. Unfortunately, they all eluded IKEA who let the idea of a desk named “Fartfull” get out of the Swedish boardroom and over to the US.

– Somebody came out with a running shoe called Zyklon. Sounds techy. Didn’t take long for them to be labeled colossally thoughtless for resurrecting the name of a poisonous gas used in Nazi concentration camps. A quick Google search could have prevented that blunder. (I just tried it; bingo, right there.)

        That rant being said, I’m sure to be setting myself up for missing some cultural obscurity soon. In fact, I nearly proposed an ingredient name recently that was already in use by another client. No wonder it sounded so good.

        Yogi warned me.

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