The accents in these names are acute. It’s the reasoning behind them that’s obtuse.
The little leaf over the E in Tarté Asian Yogurt is represented as an acute accent elsewhere (“The smooth and creamy texture of Tarté is what differentiates our yogurt from those that are thick and chalky with off putting sour tastes”). The founders — Southern Californians with Southeast Asian backgrounds — wanted to communicate the influence of “nearly 200 years of French trade and colonization” on Southeast Asian cuisine.
But slapping on an accented letter—and then ignoring its pronunciation—isn’t the solution. If you spell the name Tarté, you have to pronounce it “tar-TAY”: that’s what an acute accent does. And yet Tarté Asian Yogurt isn’t pronounced “tart-TAY,” it’s pronounced “tart.”
To further accentuate the negative, the website calls Tarté Asian Yogurt “deliciously tart,” which makes the name merely descriptive: a bad thing in trademark law.
The Lé Edge exfoliating tool scrapes off the surface layer of skin, “revealing the newer younger cells and more radiant skin.” And that’s all it does. It doesn’t depilate or moisturize. (It will, however, remove your spray-on tan. And it’ll set you back $34.95 plus shipping and handling.)
I searched in vain for a compelling reason to buy Lé Edge. And I can’t find anything good to say about the name, which is the worst kind of faux-French. “Le” is a French definite article (“the”), but it doesn’t have an accent, and it’s pronounced with a schwa vowel sound—“luh,” very roughly—not “lay,” as Lé Edge’s accented spelling dictates. Sure enough, the product name is pronounced “Luh Edge,” as if the accent weren’t there.
And sometimes it isn’t there, because the website is lazy about consistency.
Also cringeworthy: the cutesy-poo, ungrammatical extension of “Le” (no accent) in text headings: “Le Handle,” “Le Benefits.”
Finally, the wordmark is so poorly executed that’s it’s easy to read the name as “Leedge.”
Gratuitous umlauts in brand names are usually dumb, but gratuitous acute accents are worse: Even monolingual English speakers are likely to have encountered a few acute-accented French words such as sauté and cliché. (Hello, McCafé!) We know what the accent is supposed to do to a word’s pronunciation; undermine our expectations and you undermine our confidence in your brand.