Specsavers Attempts To Trademark the Term “Should’ve” Gets My Views on Radio
UK national optician chain, Specsavers, recently attempted to trademark the terms “should’ve” and “shouldve”. The reason being that they use these terms in their UK advertising. You might think this has little to do with most of us, especially if you live outside the UK, but it demonstrates an incredibly important marketing lesson that every business I know should be aware of.
It is nothing to do with Trademarks; although they are important. It is to do with the power of the media and how businesses can harness it.
Very soon after the story broke I had a call from LBC, they are the London based national commercial talk radio station (they were the first commercial station to be licenced in the UK). About 12 minutes later I was being interviewed by Nick Ferrari, the morning show host. LBC has 1.7 million listeners in total, and morning shows traditionally get the most significant share of listeners on radio.
The thing is anyone reading this post could get on radio on a regular basis. I do approx one national broadcast a month on average. Most are with the BBC, but like this one many are with national commercial stations, plus, from time to time I also get on satellite TV worldwide. Perhaps more importantly I NEVER pitch for this sort of gig. The media always contact me and ask me to appear on the show. You could get these requests as well .. more about that in a moment.
What about the Specsavers Trademark?
I personally trademarked the phrase The Marketing Magician many years ago. LBC introduced me as Stefan Drew, a marketing expert, known as The Marketing Magician. It’s part of my deal with stations; they have to use The Marketing Magician to introduce me. 95% of the time they do this without hassle so my trademark gets tremendous exposure to huge audiences worldwide.
But Specsavers didn’t trademark a name. They’ve tried to trademark common words that most of us use in conversation every day. These words might be used in our advertising, literature or webcopy in normal circumstances. I think that is wrong and said so on air to a national audience.
I’m not alone in this. Trademark lawyer Tania Clark from Withers and Rogers also has concerns about simple words being trademarked. She claimed only to know of one other example where this has occurred. This was when Carlsberg secured the word “probably” for use in the context of beers and lagers. Specsavers have applied for much wider coverage for “should’ve” and I feel this is the thin end of the wedge. It means that you could infringe their trademark if you use this term anywhere in your literature, website etc.
Although approved by the UK Intellectual Property Office other businesses have until Oct 12th to raise any concerns.
Would Specsavers come after you if they feel you have infringed their trademark? I can’t say for sure but in 2014, they won an appeal enabling them to trademark the oval shapes in its logo. This ended a 6 year battle with Asda who they claimed were using an oval logo that resembled the Specsavers oval!
Back to Businesses Getting National Media Coverage
National and International media coverage is really powerful. Who would you ask to help you with your business marketing; the person in a directory who might or might not be good OR the person that has demonstrated they can get national or international coverage for their own business? The same applies when you want to employ any other professional. And it doesn’t end with professionals. If I’m buying any new product or service i want to be sure the people I buy from know what they are doing. Being seen or heard on national radio or TV, or being quoted in the media adds authority and credibility to any business or individual.
If you want to learn how to get the national or international media to request your views for a show, newspaper, magazine or website I can help you. I’ve only space for 5 people maximum, and will provide one to one help to ensure each is positioned so that the local, national and international media are able to quickly discover their area(s) of expertise and contact details.
Does this work? Well it saw me on LBC this week. Plus over the years I’ve been featured in The Scotsman, the Times Education supplement, The Telegraph, The Independant; on BBC World Services, BBC Scotland, and in The Island (Colombo), The Harare Times, The Sydney Chronicle. I’ve also been on most BBC local radio stations and in hundreds of other publications. On top of that I’ve written regular columns for quite a number of Life county publications and national websites.
But remember I’m not a trained journalist and regular readers know my English isn’t great and that I make loads of typos. The thing is you don’t need to be great at writing. You just have to have an opinion about a particular topic and be prepared to explain it.
Contact me now to learn how you could do this as well.