Australia Day – the official national day of the land Down Under – is commemorated each year on 26 January. This was the day, in 1788, on which the First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove, and British sovereignty was proclaimed over the eastern seaboard of Australia.
Of course, attitudes to colonialism are somewhat more ambivalent these days than they once were, and Australia Day is not universally celebrated. Each year there are groups of indigenous Australians, and their supporters, who mark the occasion with alternative “Invasion Day” protests.
But this article is less concerned with actual imperialism, and more with cultural imperialism –particularly the “invasion” of this country by that once all-American, but now global, fast-food chain known variously in its land of origin as McDonald’s, the Golden Arches and Mickey-D’s. Here in Australia, however, McDonald’s most prevalent nickname is “Macca’s”. A recent branding survey commissioned by McDonald’s Australia found that 55 per cent of Australians refer to the company by its local slang name.
The Federal Trade Commission upheld an Administrative Law Judge’s decision that the marketers of POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice and POMx supplements deceptively advertised their products and did not have adequate support for claims that the products could treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction, and that they were clinically proven to work.
The Commission issued an Opinion upholding Chief Administrative Law Judge D. Michael Chappell’s May 2012 Initial Decision that the POM marketers made false or deceptive advertising claims.
The Commission Opinion found that the POM marketers made deceptive claims in 36 advertisements and promotional materials challenged at trial after issuing a September 2010 administrative complaint – going beyond Judge Chappell’s ruling, which found false or deceptive claims in only 19 of the challenged items.
Both patents cover methods and associated systems that enable peer-to-peer advertising. In the innovation described in the patent a subsidy program is set up based on a profile of an advertiser. A qualified subscriber is identified for the advertiser based on a profile of a subscriber. One or more advertisers and subsidy programs for the qualified subscriber are then selected. When a communication transmission is received one or more advertisements associated is transmitted from a central communication device to the subscribers communication device.
Blue Calypso has recently filed similar complaints against Yelp Inc. (NYSE: YELP) and Groupon, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRPN) in an effort to protect the state-of-the-art digital marketing platform that is at the core of the company’s business. The Groupon lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division.
Over recent years, online advertising has been a driving force in the growth of the Internet. As business owners, you never stop hearing about the benefits of having your own website and advertising your services on-line. I am guilty of preaching this sermon myself! However, because of the ever-increasing existence of badware, it has become increasingly difficult to know what ads or websites we can trust. Thankfully, tech giants such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, PayPal and others have joined forces with StopBadware.org and formed the Ads Integrity Alliance (AIA) in order to combat Badware, protect users from bad ads and maintain the integrity of the “online advertising ecosystem.”
StopBadware.org is a non-profit organization that is focused solely on protecting the public from badware websites. The organization started out as a project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University but has grown significantly to include partners such as Google, Mozilla, Verizon, PayPal, Qualys, and VeriSign. The StopBadware Board of Directors consists of many of the biggest names within the Online industry such as Chief Information Security Officer at PayPal, Michael Barrett, (Currently the Chair of the Board), the Vice-President and Chief Internet evangelist for Google, Vinton, G. Cerf, Engineering Director for Google, Mike Shaver, Chairman and CEO of Qualys, Inc., Philippe Courtot to name a few.
Forever a PC family, IPWatchdog has slowly converted over to all Apple/Mac products. It started with iPhones, then an iPad, followed by 27″ iMacs, and now MacBook Airs. This conversion ultimately got me thinking, “What happened to the old Mac vs. PC Commercials?”
Nearly two years ago I wrote an article Mac vs. PC: A Simplistic Yet Effective Marketing Strategy. You remember Mac vs. PC don’t you? The John Hodgeman played usually frazzled, often disheveled “PC” and Justin Long played the always hip, cool and technologically advanced Mac. The Get a Mac ads, which started in May of 2006 and ended in October of 2009, seem to have virtually disappeared. In fact, the commercials are not even featured on the Apple Website. If you click on the “Commercials” link you are now taken to a “Why You’ll Love a Mac“ page. Boring. Could it be that Apple thinks PC’s no longer have the issues that have always plagued them in the past? I doubt it. Why do you think we are moving over to “the Dark Side???” Maybe Hodgeman and Long got too big for their roles? Well no matter what the reason, I have one question, “Hey Apple, what happened to Mac vs. PC?”
I write often about brand building, marketing and social media for start-up companies and businesses of every size, shape and industry. However, today I focus on the basics of marketing and brand building for attorneys. Whether you are an individual attorney or part of a rather large firm, it is imperative to remember that when preparing your marketing strategy you are not simply trying to sell your services, but are, in fact, building your own brand.
Brand building seems like a rather easy task for companies that offer tangible products, but as attorneys, all you have to sell is your time, so things can be a little bit different. You need to also factor in that in many, if not most, instances clients feel they are represented by an individual. Sure, the firm identity is important, but the relationship is with the individual. Thus, for attorneys it is especially important to always keep in mind that You Are Your Brand! As with any industry, you cannot simply create some ads, a website and some social media profile pages and expect people to come to you. Rather, clear goals need to be outlined and a strategy for reaching those goals should be mapped out.
Brand building can be defined as “Building the perceptions of your target audience.” Those who work in marketing usually say that in order to really build your brand you need to be consistent in your marketing campaigns. Consistency and repetition are a sure way to create a focused brand image and ingrain your message into the minds of those you are trying to reach. However, Geico, has shown that, when done right, you can break the widely accepted and customary brand building “rules” often having numerous different iconic ad campaigns running at once. So today I’d like to discuss 5 of the more memorable GEICO ad campaigns beginning with the GEICO Gecko® through the most recently added Mike McGlone Commercials and analyze what your business can learn from these ad campaigns.
As we have seen a drastic increase in our readership over the last few years, IPWatchdog.com has become a full-time endeavor, and as such we are actively seeking advertiser and sponsor partners who can use the visibility we can provide. This will also provide us the ability to do more of what we are already doing, which we seem to have a knack for. So in the spirit of the holidays we thought we’d offer discounted rates good for advertising or sponsorship campaigns initiated or continued during December 2010.
“Good Morning. But I digress” Does that ring any bells? Those of you who follow me, know that I enjoy writing about fun television advertising campaigns. My favorite has always been the Mac Vs. PC commercials which seem to have vanished with the introduction of Windows 7. Oh how I mourn their discontinuation, but hey, now I digress! Yesterday, my husband, the IPWatchdog, Gene Quinn and I were chatting about business via instant messenger as we so often do throughout the day. We were discussing the suggestion of a potential client that we undertake a project for a reduced fee, to which he responded in type with “WOW… THATS A LOW PRICE.”
Now with his comment, I of course responded with… Wait for it…. “I’m sorry, did you say something about a low price?” Much to my dismay Gene did not reply. So in disappointment I typed, ”You didn’t play along” to which he replied, (can you guess?)… “I KNOW.” So I guess he was playing along after all. Anyway, this discussion is what ultimately prompted me to write about the power of branding through catchy marketing and the word of mouth response that really effective ad campaigns elicit.
Last week a US Patent Application No. 20100010893 published detailing an invention relating to digital advertising, and more particularly to creating video overlay advertisements suitable for use with digital videos. The owner is Google and the patent application was originally filed on July 9, 2008. It seems that the Internet giant and purveyor of the extraordinarily popular YouTube video sharing website, is attempting to make it easier to create multimedia advertisements. The screen shots in the patent application show that YouTube video is, in fact, what Google has in mind. Just what we need, more advertising! But advertising does pay the bills and allows individuals and businesses to create unique content for the Internet while making a living, thereby enabling for additional creation. This, after all, is the justification for intellectual property rights. Grant to businesses and individuals exclusive rights that they can monetize, if in fact there is a market. Through monetization they can, hopefully, make enough to engage in further original creation, and so goes the cycle.
Apple’s Mac Vs PC ad campaign has been on the air waves since May of 2006 and features John Hodgeman of the Daily Show as “PC” and Justin Long from Dodge ball and Herbie Fully Loaded as “Mac.” By now most of you have probably seen the newest of the Mac Vs PC ads. You know the ones where Mac looks at PC with that smile and you know he’s thinking “I can’t believe how clueless this guy is!” I realize that doesn’t narrow it down much at all, but the one I am thinking about in particular is the most current of these ads, titled “Broken promises” (see below) where they depict Microsoft as a company that cannot be trusted to keep their “Promises” of a better product without the issues that each previous version has had. In this rather humorous ad, PC starts by saying “Hey Mac did you hear the good news, Window’s 7 is out and it’s not gonna have any of the problems that windows XP had.” To which Mac respond “I feel like I’ve heard this before PC.”
Steve Jobs, with hair. His official photo from his Apple Bio page.
Earlier today a pending non-provisional utility patent application assigned to Apple Computer published. This application, US Patent Application 20090265214, is titled Advertisement in Operating System, and covers exactly what the title implies; namely an operating system that is capable of displaying a variety of advertisements to users. You are likely to have heard of the first listed inventor, Steven Jobs, the CEO and co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc. While it is difficult to know the purpose and strategy behind a patent application, the attorneys at Fish & Richardson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who drafted and filed the patent application certainly did a very good job describing just about every conceivable feature and alternative that could coincide with the displaying of advertisements to users of an operating system. It almost sounds funny to call the displaying of advertisements within an operating system “a feature,” particularly given the annoying, ubiquitous and ever more intrusive nature of advertising these days. In any event, the patent application is well written, albeit it written in pre-Bilski style at least with respect to the claims. If Apple does want to pursue this all the way to a patent I suspect there will be plenty of opportunity to do so, and there will certainly be allowable claims that fall within this disclosure.
Recently I saw one of Intel’s new TV commercials, oddly enough as I was standing in line at Dunkin Donuts waiting for a coffee. It was playing on the TV positioned perfectly for everyone in line to see, no doubt taking your mind off the wait. I thought this commercial was so awesome I grabbed my cell phone and called my office phone number to remind myself to write a blog post about Intel, the commercial and how inventors are indeed rock stars! As an inventor myself, and a patent attorney who comes in contact with inventors from all walks of life, levels of experience and technology backgrounds, I thought to myself that this commercial is completely brilliant. Way to go Intel, and thanks for making it cool to be an inventor!
Have you seen the latest Mac VS PC Commercials yet? If you haven’t, you can go to YouTube or watch them directly on the Apple website. In the last few weeks Apple has created several new campaign ads that mock Microsoft’s choice to spend in excess of $300 million (rumored to be up to $500 Million) on an advertising campaign for its Vista operating system rather than to spend that money to fix the issues that PC users have faced with the program. This type of comparative advertising is legal, and you see it all the time. A trademark is a limited right and while a trademark is undoubtedly a significant business asset, it is important to remember that simply obtaining a trademark does not entitle the trademark owner to take the trademarked word or phrase out of the world’s vocabulary. Particularly in the United States where we hold the First Amendment above reproach by any laws, there are many legitimate and legal uses of a trademark, and the right to engage in comparative advertising is among one of those legitimate uses.
You can file this under the “just what we needed” category. Yes, more advertising will be thrust upon us as it seems thanks to Diebold, Incorporated, who announced on September 25, 2008, that they had received seven patents on software that will transform automated teller machines (ATMs) into revenue-generating business tools. Said another way, Diebold is going to bring us a world full of ATMs that spew advertising as we are trying to pay needless fees to access our own money at ATMs all over the country! Perhaps I am a little pessimistic about all of this, but advertising seems to be penetrating every aspect of life and I will certainly have a problem with paying a fee and having advertising reeled out to me as I am trying to access my own money! Hopefully this won’t go the way of the DVD, where you have to listen to the ads for movies before you even get to the movie you rented or payed for. That would be horrible. Go to an ATM for some quick cash and not be able to proceed to withdraw funds and pay an exorbitant fee without first watching some advertising. Hopefully there will be a “skip” button or something to save us all!
How to Write a Patent Application is a must own for patent attorneys, patent agents and law students alike. A crucial hands-on resource that walks you through every aspect of preparing and filing a patent application, from working with an inventor to patent searches, preparing the patent application, drafting claims and more. The treatise is continuously updated to address relevant Federal Circuit and Supreme Court decision impacting patent drafting.
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