June 2016

Vaping from the Outside: Some Labels Suck

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By SUSAN OSER

Labels: We all grew up with them when we were in school. We still live with them now. While most people scoff at labels and put up their middle finger to those who impose them, for others labels are sources of identity.

This is especially true with various juice makers that are out there who are trying to make a buck and stand out in the crowd.

The ones who look professional are the ones who will keep being successful and know what they are doing. They have fancy labels, look high class, and look (as well as taste like) they know what their product is and what they are doing. They don’t have to try hard, because they let the product speak for itself.

There are several companies I respect, order from, and offer my support to for this very reason. Not only are they proud of their product, but they use that money to put back into the growth of their company and make it better. They are also proud to label themselves and encourage others to become an activist in the community. Some even are deeply involved in advocacy themselves.

Then you have those companies who look like they’ve hired a freelancer to do their graphic design. The label looks like it’s a take-off of a name-brand company (such as Airheads or Popsicles), and insert their own name on the cheap so they can save money in order to make more for themselves. These are the companies that have no reason being in the industry because all that label is saying is “look at me, I’m fun and fruity and kids can like it, too!”

What does that mean exactly? Advertising or having labels on products that look cartoony or look similar to products that children and adults alike already consume can lead to something called a cease and desist letter if enough people complain to the company that they are “copying.”

An example of this is a juice company in Michigan that got a nice letter from Nintendo about the name of their product looking and sounding similar to Super Mario Brothers. Because of it, that owner has had to totally rename, revamp, and remodel their product. Not only is it costly to essentially go back to square one, but he’s lost a pretty decent reputation because of the ordeal.

So, if you are a company that has a name or label that looks and sounds similar to Willy Wonka, Pop Tarts or Fruit Loops, don’t be surprised if you end up with the same fate. You have no reason to complain to us, the consumer or the activist about it when you were told up front how bad this looks on the community.

If you want to be a respectable company, do it right the first time — be creative and original with your names and your labels. Frankly, the way you are coming off to the consumer and those who are finicky about their juices, it looks like your company and your product lack originality. It’s no different from the annoying Hollywood reboot and sequel trends.

We know you don’t care about the community. We know you think it is a money grab. The question is, do you have the common sense and basic business sense

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to change your name and reputation before Kellogg’s or Nestlé tells you to do so? You probably don’t.

Believe me, I have already written to a big company about a juice company that has a possible trademark infringement on one of their candy products. I sent them the website as well as photographic proof I took. As a result, I got a simple thank you know for letting them know. Trust me, any CEO or HR person wants public/customer feedback. It’s how their brand reinvents themselves and flourishes. It’s why social media becomes such a powerful tool for change.

So, since this topic is a hot issue on Facebook and Twitter, hopefully this raises your awareness that perhaps you didn’t think it through when it came to creating the concept, label, and name for your company that looks like it could be candy or a popular soft drink.

Yes, my dear company with the label that looks like you are child enabler selling to kids and not an actual adult, your brand name is being slandered online. While it could be good marketing for your product, it’s leaves a black eye for the whole industry.

In the Facebook groups where I’m involved and active, it has become a hot topic lately. Many online podcasts and vape tubers have been using this issue as content fodder, are currently talking about it or are just now becoming aware of how much of a problem this really is.

We’ve seen you at those big trade shows and events. The organizers really need to be held accountable for letting them in doors in the first place. And at the show, that vendor was NOT the talk of positive review but negative ones based on the labelling alone. Remember folks, it only takes a few seconds to make a first impression (good or otherwise).

If any of these companies are reading this and they are truly aware of the labels they have for their juices — bite the bullet, go back to the drawing board and start over. If you can’t think of anything, have a naming or logo contest. You’d be surprised at the mass of creative minds that are out there who are salivating at the opportunity to get their name out there. They get it. They understand why you are selling your product and want to make the dollar. So, why not utilize those resources and make your product better. You already read of one example that’s doing that (as well as many more that are in the process).

So, what’s stopping you?

What do you think makes a good juice label? What can you suggest to those companies who dropped the ball on their marketing and advertising of their product? Do you have an idea that could slow this trend? Contact me at angelwritercreations@gmail.com. I’d like to hear what you have to say. Find me on Facebook, Twitter and my personal website http://www.angelwritercreations.com. If you like this rant and want to hear more, I currently host on VapeTVLive on Thursday nights from 11pm – midnight EST.