JackYan.com
Jack and Aston Martin V8 Vantage Monaco street signs
Jack Yan: the Persuader blog
  Click here to go to home pageWhat I stand forMy stuffWhat others have recently saidMeet some of the coolest folks I knowDrop me a line Visit my workplace
> My stuff > The Persuader Blog


29.12.09

Unlike Jimmy Carter, some of those peanut growers are mean 

Found in David Vinjamuri’s Accidental Branding (one of several books I have still to go through), talking about the founding of the Clif Bar:

Gary loved the package, but he was reluctant to name the bar after himself … As they were finalizing packaging a couple of months later, they ran a trademark search, only to learn that the name might infringe on a product called Gary’s All Natural Peanuts. Erickson wrote a letter to the company, who promptly threatened to sue them.

What the heck?
   The incident is in another book, Raising the Bar, which founder Gary Erickson himself wrote:

We did a trademark search and found a product called Gary’s All Natural Peanuts. We thought, “Well, it’s not exactly a bar. Let’s write them a letter and tell them what we are doing.” In no time flat we received a letter from the large multinational company that made the product telling us that they would come after us with all their attorneys and sue us for so much money that we would regret ever thinking of Gary Bar.

   I’d love to tell you who the multinational is, but a USPTO search does not reveal this trade mark. There is, however, one for plain old Gary’s for a company called Gary’s Peanuts, Inc., but I dare not presume it’s the same one. (It’s owned by Severn Peanut Co., Inc., a subsidiary of Meherrin Agricultural & Chemical Co., Inc., which owns Hampton Farms. Not sure if these guys are a ‘multinational’ as they look pretty local to me.)
   Whomever responded to Gary Erickson, this is abysmal business behaviour, Peanut people. Here’s a new company trying to do the right thing and probably wrote a very polite letter. Your first response, if the above is correct, is to resort to lawyers.
   Where I come from, formal proceedings are a last resort. Most people are able to work out their differences professionally and show some responsibility for their positions first. But if you want to enrich the legal profession and look like dicks when the story is retold, be my guest.
   It still amazes me how gutless some people are. And we wonder why the US is in the financial poo. Could it be because money is going to the wrong department for things that most normal people can sort out with a letter or two?

PS.: Below is a response from Tom Nolan of Hampton Farms, confirming it was not his company who threatened Gary Erickson, and that they are not a multinational—so it more than gets them off the hook. It makes me wonder, now, just who Erickson wrote to, as the Gary’s All Natural Peanuts trade mark does not come up in a search.

Labels: , , ,

Post a Comment  Links to this post

14.12.09

Saab shouldn’t object to a Beijing courtship 


Photographed by Meredyth Lewis/JY&A Media
I know I blogged enthusiastically about the potential of Koenigsegg buying Saab to put its solar-powered car into production but, as we know, that deal has since fallen through. Saab’s future is uncertain again, even if Dutch company Spyker—which also makes specialty sports cars—has expressed an interest in buying it. There are still a couple of other bidders, Renco, and Red Chinese automaker Beijing Automotive (BAIC).
   While I’ve very happily dissed BYD for falling foul of intellectual property law (to which some very un-Chinese face-losing types cried over), and had it in for SAIC over its tactics in trying to buy MG Rover, I’ve always applauded those Chinese firms who are willing to showcase the true ingenuity of Chinese designers. The latest Cherys, the MG 6, and even the great symbol of Chinese communism, the Hongqi, actually look the part. (The Hongqi, in particular, plays homage to some of the 1960s’ and 1970s’ models, and straddle the part of looking retro and heritage with communist restraint and free-market limousine pretensions.)
   I’ll reserve judgement on quality till I see a Red Chinese vehicle in the metal, but right now, BAIC looks like the only automaker that might be able to give Saab a shot.
   It’s not beyond Spyker’s capability. If I thought that Koenigsegg could make a go of Saab, then why not Spyker? A lot of it is restoring the corporate culture and reinstil that Saab pride. (It’s the sort of move John Egan made at Jaguar when he put a large leaper mascot back at the factory and had an unveiling ceremony. The cars might have been badly made, but at least the pride was back.) While Koenigsegg had plans for a solar car, which fits marvellously with Swedes’ business and social conscience, Spyker might be the sort of owner that would encourage Swedish innovation. Saab’s engineers have not all disappeared and the new 9-5, from what I have seen, is still quite a capable and distinctive car.
   But does it have the readies to ensure long-term survival for Saab? That’s the hardest question to get one’s head around, because if it were there in the family silver, why hadn’t it been used to launch smaller, less exclusive Spykers? Simple: even if the money were there, Spyker hasn’t had downmarket plans in mind. Will it be able to take on a (relatively speaking) volume manufacturer and turn it around, or will Saab simply become another limited-production line, being built by a few hundred staff in Sweden?
   Meanwhile, we are seeing some interesting tactics being employed by Beijing. I already knew that the old 9-5 production line was making its way over to China, but the latest news is that the 9-3 is heading east, too. Powertrain technology and tooling have also gone, and Saab people will help BAIC integrate the technology into its cars. The Murdoch Press claims that the current 9-5 has also headed east, but I wonder if this is a typo.
   BAIC lacks, of course, a brand, but its styling is fairly sharp among the Chinese automakers when it comes to its own-design work.
   The sales do not bode well for the Swedish worker, but what does one expect of a conservative government that has been keen on selling everything from Absolut to a part of TeliaSonera? It was predictable, and similar moves in New Zealand have done little for the country’s productivity and wealth.
   This is not a popular view in the Swedish business press, which embraces the technocracy, but it is all too familiar to most New Zealanders, who wound up opposing asset sales by the late 1980s.
   However, I digress, and there is plenty there for another blog post.
   The BAIC acquisitions have been done legally and at arm’s length. There are no stories emerging from Trollhättan about Saab managers getting drunk as Chinese executives entertained them, or false promises about joint ventures that failed to materialize. Already, this shows good faith and face.
   The company has learned from the days when the Jeep Cherokee design somehow leaked from the company and pirate firms were churning out a model to which BAIC itself had the exclusive Chinese licence. It might actually be quite a good defender of intellectual property.
   It has roughly the same number of years in JVs as SAIC, initially with Chrysler, and more recently with Hyundai, so we are not talking about a bunch of amateurs.
   And BAIC has dreams of international expansion. What Chinese firm doesn’t, at this level? What it eyes is less the 9-3 and 9-5, but the Saab name that could adorn a whole generation of new cars.
   The conservative government of Sweden is unlikely to kick up much of a fuss on behalf of the Swedish worker if more assets go to Beijing.
   However, this might be the lesser of two evils, if some production is kept in Sweden—even if it is assembly—than for it to fade away completely as a slightly downmarket Spyker.
   It would ensure the continuation of a brand that will inherently be tied to Sweden, even if some componentry comes off Chinese production lines.
   And is being Chinese that much worse than being German, when Saabs have been rebodied Opel Vectras for some time now?
   If indeed Swedish engineers are flying out Beijing these days to help productionize the 9-3 and 9-5, then the quality will surely be up to Swedish levels.
   It keeps the door open long-term for top-end Saabs still emerging from Trollhättan while more basic models emerge from Beijing. Eastern markets are the ones that are really growing these days, and basic economics suggest that the products should be built where they are most desired.
   And at least whatever BAIC builds will be of Saab design, albeit on Opel platforms. It will not be a Japanese Saab, the 9-2X, which the company’s brand adorned earlier this century when GM had a Subaru share holding. It will not be a big SUV based on the Oldsmobile Bravada and made in Ohio, another of GM’s abominations (though at least that kept buyers at Saab when, prior the 9-7X’s release, they were flocking to SUVs made by other brands).
   Whatever BAIC builds at least will have a Saab soul, not one dictated by Detroit economics. BAIC itself has an electric car design which would work quite well with the Saab brand, too. GM’s failure to grasp anything about the Saab culture—which, incidentally, contrasts with Ford’s ability to keep the brand essence of most of its acquisitions, including Volvo—meant that any differentiation and distinctiveness were washed away by cost controls and the GM way. If it could not keep its own Stateside Saturn division unique, what hope was there for an out-of-sight, out-of-mind outpost, starved of resources to develop new models?
   I wish Saab and Koenigsegg had tied up, or Saab had the volume to be independent. These are not options. Looking at what we have, BAIC might not be the worst suitor. If Saab becomes its only international brand, it certainly would treasure it more than GM, with its many divisions, ever did. And if it understands that brand value and country of origin have some important ties to car buyers, as Tata did when it acquired Jaguar and Land Rover, then Sweden might not lose out.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Post a Comment  Links to this post

 

 

Quick links

Surf to the online edition of Lucire
  • More ramblings at the Lucire Insider blog
  • The Medinge Group
  • Your Wellington
  • My Facebook page
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • My Vkontakte page
  • Book me for public speaking
  • Contact JY&A Consulting on business projects
  • Check out fonts from JY&A Fonts
  • Add feeds




    Add feed to Bloglines
    More options after the ad




    Subscribe in Rojo
    Add to Google
    Add feed to Newsgator
    Subscribe using Netvibes
    Add feed to My Yahoo!





    Add to Bitty Browser
    Add to The Free Dictionary
    Add to Plusmo
    Add to Excite MIX
    Add to netomat Hub
    Add to flurry
    Add to Webwag
    Add to Attensa
    Receive IM, Email or Mobile alerts.


    RSS feed from 2RSS
    CompleteRSS
    Feedster
    CoComment feed
    ATOM for coComment

    Twitter Updates


  • Get this blog via email

    Enter your Email


    Powered by FeedBlitz
    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Technorati

    Add this blog to my Technorati Favorites!
    » View my Technorati favourites

    Individual JY&A and Medinge Group blogs

  • Lucire: Insider
  • Summer Rayne Oakes
  • The Medinge Group press room
  • Detective Marketing
  • Amanda van Kuppevelt
  • Delineate Brandhouse
  • Paolo Vanossi
  • Nigel Dunn
  • Pameladevi Govinda
  • Endless Road
  • Avidiva news
  • Johnnie Moore’s Weblog
  • Steal This Brand Too
  • The Beyond Branding Blog
  • Ton’s Interdependent Thoughts
  • Partum Intelligendo
  • Right Side up
  • Headshift
  • Goiaba Brazilian Music
  • Jack Yan on Tumblr (brief addenda)

  • + Add The Persuader Blog to your Blogroll

     
    Check out the Jack Yan: the Persuader Blog swicki at eurekster.com

    Blogroll

    Design Can Change

    No Spec

    Mapstats


    Del.icio.us


    Previous posts

  • My last post for this blog on Blogger (fingers cros...
  • History of the decade, part 11: man and woman of t...
  • Why Peter Jackson deserves a knighthood
  • History of the decade, part 10: 2009
  • The newer the program, the buggier it gets: a remi...
  • Any how-tos on shifting to Wordpress?
  • History of the decade, part 9: 2008
  • Research isn’t that important if you write in an e...
  • We are running out of time
  • Unlike Jimmy Carter, some of those peanut growers ...

  • This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

    Archives

  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009


  • Earlier entries at the Beyond Branding Blog
  • August 2003
  • September 2003
  • October 2003
  • November 2003
  • December 2003
  • January 2004
  • February 2004
  • March 2004
  • April 2004
  • May 2004
  • June 2004
  • July 2004
  • August 2004
  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
  • February 2005
  • March 2005
  • April 2005
  • May 2005
  • June 2005
  • July 2005
  • August 2005
  • September 2005
  • October 2005
  • November 2005
  • December 2005
  • January 2006

  • Comments by Jack Yan

    Blogarama
    Webfeed (RSS/ATOM/RDF) registered at http://www.feeds4all.nl


    Listed on BlogShares


    Please rate my site at Othx
    Blog Flux Directory
    Business Blogs - Blog Top Sites
    Business Blogs - Blog Top Sites
    BlogRankers.com
    Blog Directory & Search engine

    Blogz

    Blog Search: The Source for Blogs

    Blogion.com - the definitive blog directory
    Blogroll.net
    Rate me on the Eatonweb Portal
      (Bad) 1 2 3 4 5 (Good)
    Rice Bowl Journals
    Blog Search Engine
    < ? kiwi blogs # >
    Blogoriffic
    Blogindex.de
    Planet Journals
    Globe of Blogs
    FindingBlog
    Popdex Citations
    Truth Laid Bear
    Blogtastic
    World Blog Directory
    BlogSweet.com
    OnlineWide
    Blog Directory Submit
    nfeeds.com

    Donate

    If you wish to help with my hosting costs, please feel free to donate.