hypocritical : talking the talk without walking the walk

March 27, 2005

Sunkist: A not-so-hidden logo sin (the overwrought-with-hyphenated-adjectives post)

One of my less annoying look-how-smart-and-observant-I-am habits is that I tend to feel the need to highlight whenever I notice a logo or mark that has been updated. No matter how small or insignificant.

"The dry cleaner updated their logo," I will say. Or "Did you see the new UPS look? A travesty! Degrading Rand's work."

It's just one of the holier-than-thou, uppity things I do, which I tend to tell myself is an outward display of my intelligence and one of the things I must do, as a genius.

No one else, however, tells me this. They generally nod, sometimes smile, and brush me off with a "Who cares?" or "Um, yeah." Cretins.

So I guess, this time, I was a bit taken aback when my usual, look-at-me observation about an updated logo stopped me mid-sentence, and then my wife at mid-sentence. A new occurrence, to be sure.

I had just cracked open an orange pop, in an effort to parch my thirst without the ingesting a great deal of caffeine. As I stared at the can in my hand, I casually said to my wife "When did Sunkist update their..." and I trailed off.

"Update their what?" she said, feigning interest.

Quickly trotting (yes, I trot) over to where she was sitting. "What do you see here?" I asked.

"Sunkist," she said.

"No, really read it," I said.

"Oh my. Is that a mistake?" she said.

And it couldn't have come at a more interesting time. Less than 24-hours after I had completed my tirade on . About how it was a shame that a nonprofit had wasted money for that horrible logo. About how it would have been so much funnier if a for-profit company had wasted money on a logo.

And there it was. Right there in my hand. A shining example of that very thing.

Sunkist or Sinkist?. Or, as the logo says Sin-kist. Or Sink-ist. One of the two. (I swear I haven't mucked with this. Here's a larger image.)

When did this update occur? And who, to quote an Adam Sandler character from Saturday Night Live, were the ad wizards who came up with this one?

Was it the company, itself? Was it the Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. people who licensed the name for the soda? Maybe it was the folks at "Britain's most admired company," , who owns the whole shooting match? (And tangentially, isn't that a pleasant, happenstance Easter tie-in?)

No matter who it was, there is no doubt in my mind that they spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to create that logo. And no one seems to have bothered to check the spelling. I mean, sure. Everyone has heard of Sunkist. There's a sun behind it. A quick read causes your mind to bridge the gap. The "u" and the "n" kind of meld together.

I understand how it could have happened to one person. I make typos all the time. I'm sure half the people I hope to impress quit reading my blog because I do. But, I constantly re-read, trying to catch them. And if I were to engage in millions of dollars of production, you can be very sure I'd have a number of people proofing this thing.

But this happened to multiple people. It happened to multiple companies.

And I thought 's waste of money was bad. Who knows how many untold bottles of Sinkist are out there?

So then the worm starts to turn. Maybe this is a sinister plot? Maybe it was intentional? Maybe it's a stipulation of the licensing agreement? Maybe advertising has moved beyond the subliminal to just being right there in the liminal? Maybe my wife bought Sinkist instead of Fanta because of this creative technique?

Doubt it. Bet it's a big mistake. Or something that no one really noticed until it was far too late for anyone to do anything about it. Maybe if you leave a bottle of Sinkist under your pillow, the Cadbury clucking bunny will replace it with the right logo?

An even worse thought? It was intentional. It was a concept. And the creatives that pitched the concept sold it right up the chain. If that's the case, I'd love to see that pitch. That's a one-in-a-billion pitch. A selling-a-ketchup-popsicle-to-a-lady-in-white-gloves kind of pitch. One from which we could all learn something. I'd love to meet the people who pulled it off.

Just make sure my pockets are empty and my driver's license is out of reach.

Would you pay good money for a logo that misspelled the name of your company or product? Would you still pay money for it if you were already paying someone else a license fee to use the name? Would you pay for me to misspell more words in this blog? Comment, critique, and always return. It's good for you.


Sunkist: A not-so-hidden logo sin (the overwrought-with-hyphenated-adjectives post)
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