From “Rants About Something Dumb”
In one of my latest stories, there’s a pivotal scene that takes place in a laundry room. (What? It’s not weird, I’m not weird. Kids get dirty.) It was while I was illustrating this portion of the book that I found myself struggling with an unexpected foe: WORDS.
B-but, I like words! I mean, I spar with them sometimes, but it’s all in good fun! We wrestle and tumble and roll around, even engage in some good-natured ribbing. Sometimes Words can be elusive, but eventually I gain the upper hand and then we laugh and hug and have tea! Why are you doin’ me like this, Words???
So in this scene (we’re moving on, keep up) I was working with an illustration of laundry products on top of my washing machine. Now, I try to steer clear of branding in my writing…copyright infringement, unsanctioned endorsement, blar blar blar. However, despite my processing of the source photo, I simply couldn’t get my laundry products to NOT look specific. My choice in detergent was obvious, and the wording was still too clear. THEN, in the background, I noticed that my strategically placed dryer sheets box was obviously my favorite store brand (and anyone who shops that chain would likely recognize it even with the wording obscured). BAH!
Okay. Okay, I can work with this. I’m a bit of an artist and kinda creative…let’s just invent our own brands and re-brand the packaging! I decided I wanted something short and pithy that A) said “laundry” and B) was short enough to fit yet still be legible when I was done puttering with it.
I settled on “Pow!” and set to work creating it. At first, I just did an “erase and paste” but decided it needed more distance from the actual branding of the bottle. New color scheme, reshaping, paste and process, paste and process…an hour, this took. An hour. When I finished, I sat back all proud of myself and breathed it in. I even emailed a copy to my hubbins at work to show off my madd skillz.
Only then did it dawn on me. “Hmm. I should probably make sure there isn’t actually a Pow! brand detergent out there somewhere. Lemme Google it…”
You know what else is out there? Everything.
Pop, Zip, Snow, Star, Bright (and Brite, for the let’s-perpetuate-poor-spelling lot), Shine, More Shine (more shine!), Breeze, Clean, Super Clean, Ultra Clean, White, Extra White, Super White, White Brite, White & Bright, and Mr. White (because that sounds totally fine).
“What about Bright White?” you ask. No, but it is a pet shampoo.
Caution: Rabbit Hole
There are also some real head-scratchers out there:
Attack (the stains maybe?)
Neutral (opposite of Attack)
Frey (not only what you don’t want happening to the laundry, but they spelled it wrong)
A-B-D (not a typo)
Snap (now with attitude!)
Friendly (without attitude)
Detergent 8 (where’s 1-7?)
Super 7+ (oh, there they are)
Parachute (lost in translation?)
Green Bean Buddy (fun to say, anyway)
Orange House (I thought green was the “it” color?)
Hex (oo, sexy)
and Excelsior (for the elite laundry).
These are all actual brands of detergent. (Disclaimer: I am not endorsing any of the brands listed above, but I am including the links to prove I’m not making up a word of this.)
Okay, I’m done.
Anyway, my point is…there aren’t any words left! Okokok, I’m sure there are, but it made me wonder if we’re going to, like, run out of branding possibilities. In 50 years, someone is going to have to launch “Worms Brand Products” because that’s all that’s going to be left! Reduced to Worms. Although I guess there’s something poetic about that.
All that said, I did manage to come up with my own branding for the laundry detergent, as well as a subtle logo for the dryer sheets. But this whole experience makes me want to trademark them so they can be MY branding for use in future writings. Oh, and maybe Worms. I should trademark that, too.
…then I noticed the washing machine brand was visible, too.
Thanks for reading.