This week a hot topic in Holland was the latest campaign of the cheese brand Old Amsterdam. Thinking of hamburgers, you think of pickles, a roll, and cheese. And the cheese was the key element in promoting Old Amsterdam as the perfect cheese for your grilled hamburger. In order to facilitate one and an other, you could win a barbecue, called Black Bastard. This resulted in a negative post on a blog calling Black Bastard racist. Old Amsterdam acted quickly and changed the campaign.
These issues are quite delicate. As a brand, you definitely want to stay away from these kind of discussions. And even if you are a local brand, a linguistic check is recommended. With the globalisation and internet, a trademark travels over the internet and many people come into contact with the trademark. Of course, you cannot check all the languages, but if your trademark is an English word, a check with a native is a wise thing to do.
Having said this, the trademark BLACK BASTARD has not been rejected by the Benelux Trademarks Office being offensive. Neither did the OHIM in respect of an earlier trademark BLACK BASTARD for drinks. Nevertheless,why not bringing the trademark positively, for example Black & Beautiful (other suggestions are very welcome)?
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