Monday, February 10, 2014

Trivial Irony Dept. -- WSJ's Helen Thomas: "Easy To Mix Up Your Mercks!" -- Quite So. Her Employer Has, As Well.

I'll note this not to poke a bit of trivial ironic fun at the capitalists' paper of record. [Okay, maybe just a little. Heh.]

No, I'll primarily note it because so many, many people -- and organizations -- make the same mistake. Including Ms. Thomas's own employer -- the Wall Street Journal (proof under that link). The list would include Facebook, in granting short-hand named commercial page rights (three separate times). And CNBC -- in its graphics department -- continuously since 2009.

But that doesn't mean that we should believe, as some at Whitehouse Station claimed -- in the Facebook name flap -- that people at US Merck forget that they aren't. . . living in Germany. [Yes folks, that was US Merck's first defense (circa 2011) -- to having poached German Merck's page -- on Facebook. Preposterous.]

In any event, here is the latest Exhibit A -- from the WSJ Blogs lead page (do read it all, there). All I ask? Please just understand, many, many smart people have done it too. See here:

. . . .There was some head-scratching this week at Merck KGaA, the German pharmaceutical company, as protesters from STOPAIDS gathered outside its north London office.

The protest was over leaked plans for pharmaceutical industry lobbying against proposed reforms to South Africa’s intellectual property laws. Trouble was, those plans came from Merck & Co. of the U.S.; it and the German company aren’t connected. . . .

The leaked document, which referred to South Africa as “ground zero” in the debate over intellectual-property protection, was only a proposal and was rejected, said U.S. Merck. . . .

And so, given the benefit of my documented perspective, above -- one might understand why some AIDS activists might get confused about which set of signs, and regional HQs. . . belong to. . . which. This is not at all to be charged as Ms. Thomas' error -- but she nicely points up why each of these companies ought to rethink their brand identity. After all, her own employer makes the same mistake. These two need to become more distinguishable, one from the other.

[NOW: IRONY ALERT:] Or (in my decidedly sarcastic view, at the moment) at least enough so, so that their own employees don't "make mistakes" -- on official Facebook naming forms -- about who it is, exactly, that signs their paychecks.

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