Umbrella Trademarks

04 March 2009

Note: This Ipper is currently on Spring Break, so this post may be a little more light-hearted than usual.

Walking around the very rainy San Francisco Bay Area today, this Ipper noticed something a bit bizarre.  Umbrellas.  In the rain?  Not bizarre you say?  Umbrellas with an assortment of trademarks on them, completely unrelated to rain or umbrellas.  "Why do these people have these trademarks on their umbrellas?  Where did they get these umbrellas?" - just some of the thoughts inspired by these strange sitings.

Welcome to UPSThe UPS umbrella could have a good explanation.  Perhaps the girl carrying it had at one time worked for UPS, or maybe a family member worked there.  It was a large, sturdy umbrella, alternating panels of yellow and brown with the UPS logo itself on one of the yellow panels and the letters "UPS" on another.  It seemed like it might be the type of thing a company would give to its delivery employees, after all, they're moving around outside in the rain.

GoogleThe Goggle umbrella however, really leaves one scratching their head.  Google isn't a physical delivery service with employees who need to go out in the rain as part of their job.  Plus, the umbrella was a small, regular ol' thing; plain black with the Google trademark on one panel.  Nothing special.  Did this person win the umbrella from Google?  Did they buy it somewhere because they just love Google that much?  (And if this is the case, what made Google decide to start selling Google-branded umbrellas?)

Where do any of these strange branded items come from?  It's not uncommon to see a company's name on products that have nothing to do with the company.  Why?  And how do people wind up using these items?  Are they promotional, given away for free and used because they're free?  Do people buy them in support of a company they really like?  Are they rewards or tokens to show employees some gratitude while allowing the employees to fully represent their company?  Is it just advertising, or is it more than that?


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