The possessive form of the Hershey’s brand dates back to at least as early as 1894, according to U.S. Reg. No. 54,041 – a more than 100 year old trademark registration from 1906.
Last week, Brand New reported on Hershey’s new logo and corporate identity – without the apostrophe and letter “s” at the end:
I’m guessing that the possessive form of the HERSHEY’S trademark will continue to appear on chocolate bars and packaging, since all references to the rebrand seem to focus on the corporate identity, but if others have more information on this point, please feel free to weigh in.
Moreover, so far, there is no record of any trademark filings in the U.S. to match the new truncated look, perhaps also signaling that this look won’t hit packaging, at least in any dominant kind of way.
Here is how AdAge reported the change:
“The new branding will impact all visual aspects of how The Hershey Company presents itself, from consumer communications to websites to the interior design of its office spaces and the look of its retail stores,” the company said in a statement. While rooted in a rich heritage, the new corporate brand reflects a modern, approachable look that reflects the company’s openness and transparency as it has grown into a global company.”
Marketing types, if that is the goal, why leave the truncation and elimination of the possessive form to corporate communications, why not take it all the way to packaging? And, do you believe that makes sense as the next logical step, or does the trademark syrup just become too sticky?
Perhaps Hershey’s is merely dipping its toe in the chocolate of the less possessive format?
Given that Hershey’s has more than 150 live U.S. Registrations smooching the possessive form of the brand name (and many multiples of that number outside the U.S., I’m sure), if the truncated un-possessive format were to replace the more than 100 year old Hershey’s format, trademark types, would you feel comfortable advising the brand managers that amendments could be obtained safely without losing all these valuable registrations?
In other words, do you believe that removing the apostrophe and “s” creates a material alteration of the Hershey’s trademark? In the U.S.? What about outside the U.S.?
Would you hedge by having the new corporate identity appear in a trademark sense but in a more subtle way, almost as a corporate signature on the back corner of a packaging label?
There is certainly a lot to think about when an entire worldwide trademark portfolio is already in place — seems to me, this is a perfect opportunity for a graceful collaboration between legal and marketing types.