Dear Dr. Boli: They called me mad, but my years of dogged experimenting have finally paid off. Actually, they still call me mad, but you know how it is when you have aunts. After years of failure and discouragement, I have finally discovered a color halfway between orange and teal that will revolutionize the movie industry, and my question is this: When I register a trademark for it, should I call it “Oreal” or “Torange”? —Sincerely, “Mad” Matt Madjczwrcktz, Portvue.

Dear Sir: You might want to name it something that has no reference to the color combination itself. There are sound marketing reasons for this advice. If the fashion for orange and teal fades, then you are stuck with a product no one will buy if you have called it any name that recalls both those colors. But if you give it a snappy nonsense name, like Smirt! (with the exclamation point, to draw attention to the fact that this is a very exciting innovation in chromatic technology), then, when fashions change, you can keep your reputation and goodwill by introducing a Smirt! 2.0, and sell some color halfway between sepia and blue, or whatever prevailing Hollywood fashion dictates, to customers whose trust you have already earned. The ultimate achievement in marketing is to establish a brand identity so valuable that the product itself is irrelevant. Once you have done that, your success is assured, even if you are mad.


  1. The Shadow says:

    The truth of this advice would make me despair for the human race if I hadn’t done so long since.

  2. KevinT says:

    The product name was lurking in Mr. M’s letter the entire time: Madaunt. With the stress on the second syllable, it sounds vaguely French, which lends it an air of sophistication.

  3. The Shadow says:

    I just checked out Smirt! by averaging the RGB values of orange and teal. It’s a rather ghastly drab green color.

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