Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Inspired brand extension?

Alleged uncanny similarities between Starbucks' new "local" brand extension, 15th Street Coffee & Tea, have gotten some play in TM-land. The story has associated weirdnesses--protesters so odd I can't tell whether they're faux or serious--but I'm much more interested in the sign on the front door: "15th Ave Coffee & Tea--inspired by Starbucks."

Isn't "inspired by" usually used to indicate a different source? Are reasonable consumers likely to think this is or isn't a Starbucks company? If they think it is, does that mean that makers of knockoff perfumes and other fashion items are in trouble--is Starbucks pushing the language in a trademark-expansive direction? If consumers think it isn't Starbucks, are they suffering any harm?

Below: a picture I took of "inspired by" perfumes. Click to see what you think.

1 comment:

  1. If by "inspired by" Starbucks is suggesting the Latin "inspirare," to breathe or blow into, as in to breathe life into a new creation, perhaps. But I'm going to go with Inigo Montoya, as I so often do: "I do not think it means what you think it means."