the grass is greener on the internet

March 16, 2010, 9:11 pm
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Either the lawyers at Apple are:

a) bored;

b) now getting commission per lawsuit; or

c) losing sight of the big commercial picture.

As you have probably heard, they have attempted legal action to restrain the use of both the Woolworths logo (disputably fruit-like) and a product called DOPi (iPod backwards).

(They have also sued Samsung over the use of certain technologies without permission, which is fair – although I note that Nokia’s suit against Apple for similar reasons didn’t seem to get as much press.)

Opposing someone elses use of a trademark requires an analysis of whether it is ‘deceptively similar’, taking into account the types of products as well as the people who would be exposed to both marks.

I would not be the first blogger to point out that to your average consumer this just looks like rubbish. And thus far, the Australian Trade Marks Office has agreed…

Woolworths v Apple

If you cannot tell that these are two completely different brands, get your eyes checked. The gradient work is completely different.

So remember kids, 'i' comes before 'p', except after a lawsuit

Beware, therefore, if you ever want to launch this:

The news of this lawsuit is building and may only serve to draw attention to ‘Wholesale Central’, the otherwise forgettably-named owner of the DOPi logo. Potentially disastrous if they were intending on bringing out similar products! (Unless this is the intent as it goes back to promoting the use of their own products in a twisted kind of way…)

Just because you might be able to launch a lawsuit…doesn’t mean you should. Microsoft comparisons have already been made.

This just makes Apple look like a dictator – we can excuse them for making their products exclusively work with each other, but petty lawsuits can become nasty PR very easily. It’s just as simple as me clicking ‘publish’…


iPhone: got yours? Which one is it?
July 23, 2009, 4:47 pm
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In the top ten of ‘times I have felt very Asian’ would have to be when I pointed out to a friend that her brand new iPhone did not have the appropriate infrastructure to support dangly things**.

Not a great omission, you’d think.

That is, until everyone at the table gets their iPhone out, compares them, and then can’t figure out which is which.

Now iPhones come in four colours; Blackest Black, Whitest White, Covered and Heavily Smudged. Three out of those four don’t look very good (which is half the point of having an iPhone). This means that there is a proliferation of black iPhones with very little external recognisability.

How about an app that tells you which one's yours? It could scan the fingerprint smudges...

How about an app that tells you which one's yours? It could scan the fingerprint smudges...

For a company driven by good design, this should have come up as a potential problem. Currently about a third of my friends either already have an iPhone or are about to buy one. Not to mention the iTouch, which is essentially the iPhone except not a phone.

Macbooks are not much easier to recognise, unless one defaces that clean surface with stickers.

So far the only Mac product with any sort of external self-expression is the iPod Nano. Notably the addition of colour has not reduced the iconic status of the device.

True, the simplicity of Apple products has been touted as allowing them to be for anyone as ‘they can be whatever you want them to be’. But the practical issue remains.

So for the next iPhone, please Apple…we don’t care about copy/paste, turn that design genius to identification!

**As this post’s token irony, the iPhone doesn’t support Asian language input either.

If you learn nothing else from Tropicana…
February 24, 2009, 11:06 pm
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Yesterday we got the news that PepsiCo has withdrawn its latest packaging for Tropicana juice.

Brandcurve’s post on the topic several months ago was bombarded with comments about how much people loathed the design.

The new design cut back to simplicity with clean lines, simple pictures and bright colours contrasted with white space. In theory, a bit like Apple’s design concept.

So what’s so bad about it?

I have two words for them: subconscious cues.

In the f&b world, simple design reminds us of generic home-brands. It doesn’t try and impress us – so it just doesn’t.

For Apple, minimalism means making complex technology look simple and accessible to us.

Context is so easy to forget sometimes.

But context determines how we interpret the world, and that’s one of the key things branding consultants need to understand.