D + What = Diet Coke?

Let’s file this brand truncation example under the AlphaWatch category, even though there is some other stuff going on here too.

The rendition of the distinctive Diet Coke soft drink can to the left really popped for me, at the point of sale, positioned on a shelf behind the clear-glass door of a Coca-Cola branded cooler.

Little did I know, when snapping this photo yesterday using my trusty iPhone, that just a month ago, Coca-Cola had obtained a federal trademark registration for a non-traditional trademark including the large stylized D as part of the design of a soft drink can:

After scanning recent trademark filings at the USPTO by Coca-Cola, it appears the beverage giant is working on building some non-traditional trademark protection around various partial but visible images of the Diet Coke soft drink can (depending on your physical perspective in relation to the can), and this one had a Notice of Allowance issue for it just two months ago:

By registering various partial snap shot perspectives of its Diet Coke product packaging, Coca-Cola appears to be seeking protection for the DK acronym in a rather creative way, without committing or limiting itself to some defined DK logo.

So, in answer to the first question in the first line of this blog post, I suppose the correct formula might be: D + K + Some Illegible Stuff = Diet Coke.

This tactic reminds me of other brand owners who have made conscious use of brand renditions having portions of the brand name obscured, remember those long-gone Marlboro Man billboard ads?

Can you think of any others?