Earn the Right to Use a Word

by | Mar 25, 2015 | Branding, Commentary, Marketing

I know as marketers we are trained to put a positive spin on whatever company or product we are sharing with the world.  We have all become masters of choosing just the right words to elicit the desired emotions.  But to paraphrase the Spiderman movie franchise, “with absolute power comes absolute responsibility.”

Where am I going with all this?  I was recently walking down Yonge Street, and I saw a sign for a new restaurant that I did not know.  It is called “Fresh”.  I thought, “Okay, must be a new healthy salad type place.”  But then I noticed in tiny letters at the top, it said KFC.  KFC are the titans of deep frying and never leaders in protecting our healthy life style. Historically, they have changed from Kentucky Fried Chicken, to KFC, in part to downplay the word fried, and now they want to hide behind the word fresh.  Take a closer look, there is still a lot of fried chicken on the menu.  Fried chicken, wrapped in lettuce is still fried chicken, and naming the restaurant “Fresh”, won’t change that.

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A few days ago, I noticed another restaurant, Druxy’s, an average deli of long standing, now calls itself “Druxy’s Fresh Deli Revolution.” A place long known for, among other things, fatty smoked meat (though not Montreal smoked meat) has added some healthy choices to their menu.  And while I applaud that, it should not give them the right to kidnap and misuse the word fresh as part of their branding. Places like Wendy’s and McDonald’s have added fresh choices, and we applaud that, but they are not pretending to be something brand new. Words like “fresh,” deserve respect, and like all aspects of respect it must be earned.  Don’t just change your name to “fresh” and expect people to be fooled.

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