The Knights of the Auto Order Proudly Present: The Auto Body Estimate: Vol. II, #77, Late October 2007

Ever wonder what people in the field of Marketing actually do? I’ll tell you one thing we do; we name things. We might call it branding, but that’s misleading – no one in their right mind would trust a bunch of us office dwellers with real fire, let alone red hot pokers. We think up names for stuff like Silly Putty, Anusol, or, when our medications aren’t quite dialed-in, the Eureka 4885AT Whirlwind Omega Upright True Hepa Bagless Cyclonic Vacuum Cleaner. When some of our less well socialized members are feeling particularly nasty towards native peoples they come up with stuff like the Pontiac Aztec.

One little-known job of marketers is to name places. We’re the cats who named Iceland. If we had wanted to share it with you, we would have named it something inviting, but we wanted to keep it nice and unspoiled. In fact, we were so concerned with preserving Iceland’s native beauty, we named one of our frozen neighbors “Greenland” just to lure the riff raff away. Think I’m kidding about the geographic power of the Marketer? Have you ever been to the Mosquito Coast or Death Valley? No? I rest my case! For all you REALLY know they could both be Club Med without the annoying guests. They could be THE place where the parasail boats only take off, but never return.

We’re also the folks who thought up “great personality” and “fixer-upper”. Want an inside scoop? You can tell when we’re hung over when we start to overuse the word “new”, drop in lots of exclamation points, or we resort to random combinations of numbers and letters for product names, like the G4, the TT, or the F-85.

After we name something, our next step is to trademark it so no one else can use the name without paying us. Isn’t that brilliant? I heard a radio piece today about the governor of Colorado trying to trademark (and obtain exclusive rights to the use of) the term “Rocktober” in honor of their baseball team’s Cinderella-esque transformation this month. They aired an interview with a classic rock disc jockey who’d been promoting his own, and completely unrelated, Rocktober event for eleven years, who expressed concern that he could lose the right to do so. While you might not think that represents a particularly devastating loss, I worry that Bill Gates (or some other megalomaniacal genius) is going to take this a step further and start trademarking parts of speech. What if they trademarked all the verbs, so we could only use them with Bill’s permission, or the expressed permission of the NFL? Someday folks might find themselves forced to buy a vowel.

The idea of the DJ losing the rights to continue celebrating his annual Rocktober promotions with t-shirts and whatnot made me wonder if it was too late to trademark my own name, or if someone had already beaten me to Scott Yoho™. I’m still a little upset having learned that I’m no longer able to smile® without the permission of McDonalds, who trademarked that back in 2002. My subsequent efforts to grimace® were similarly derailed, but I was eventually able to sneer.

But maybe I’m being too negative in my thinking on this. What if we harnessed this ridiculousness for the power of good? If I run out and trademark “IRS Audit” before anyone else does, would that prevent anyone from being able to use that term? That might benefit mankind, or at least some of us! Maybe if I trademarked “Sarbanes-Oxley” I could slow those two terrorists down. The latest manifestation of their evil handiwork is that we’re no longer able to discuss any work-related materials verbally at work for fear that someone might overhear us – all “sensitive” communication must now be performed in pantomime – and even then only in completely darkened rooms. Imagine what a headache this creates for our HR staff!

But I digress. What I should really do is try to get a trademark on my new T-shirt and bumper sticker idea. How about a nice image of John Belushi (perhaps a drawing so I don’t have to pay licensing on a photo) with the accompanying acronym: WWJD. I like that. I’m also working on giant ® and ™ necklaces that can be worn to protect your likenesses, sort of like a modern day equivalent of wearing garlic to fend off vampires.

Look for some of my jewelry when we’ll play a rare Saturday night performance at the Eagles Club on November 3. For once we wont have to wait until anyone else is done, so we’ll actually sound check, avoid the noisy keyboard problem, and start early at 8:00 sharp. We’ll play two long-ish sets arranged just for this event and we’ll toss in a few surprises.

Your attendance can really make a difference. If you had all shown up last time, and had helped keep an eye on me, and made sure I didn’t drink a beer between sets, we might have prevented the unauthorized segue way into Ted Nugent’s “Stranglehold” from the middle of “They Whack Balls”.

"Buuuuut nooooooooo!”®

Love, Scott Yoho, Grand Pooh Bah, Knights of the Auto Order

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