On Friday we received a call from one of our partners in Central Florida. Willie calls and says “are you going to be there. I have something for you.” He arrives at our office all excited like a kid in a candy store. So we say “what’s up Willie?” and he hands us a Hot Wheels car and says “look, they misspelled your name.” After a thorough review of the Hot Wheels package we found that TECHNETIUM was misspelled in two places. One was in big letters across the front with a ® symbol marketing the misspelling with pride.
Now we knew Mattel owned the mark TECHNETIUM for toys and we had an older version of the TECHNETIUM car (nerds I know) but we didn’t know they had a TECHNITIUM mark with an “I”. So as trademark nerds would do, we looked it up on the USPTO.gov site. Sure enough, no such mark as TECHNITIUM in their system. This leaves us with two options, 1. the government is missing a registered trademark listing, or 2. someone in the Mattel organization forgot to hit spell check on this one.
Now keep in mind, spell check doesn’t solve all the world’s problems. It won’t catch properly spelled words that are just misused, for example thorough or through, sight or site, county or country, to, too or two. They aren’t necessarily spelled wrong, just the wrong word usage.
Claiming mistakes never happen or mishaps don’t occur insults your audience’s intelligence. All good agencies have systems in place to minimize these issues but every filter will miss a coffee ground on occasion. Sometimes pesky misspellings or misuses sneak into the final printed piece. Just ask Mattel.
As a company that specializes in consumer package design, we have one of the finest filters in the business but TECHNETIUM wouldn’t have misspelled our own trademarked name on Mattel’s Hot Wheels car. Maybe that’s just karma telling them to give us a call.
Moral of the story, misspellings happen to even the biggest and best companies (did you catch ours in the headline?).