I’m a few months late to the news that, back in August, the L.A. Dodgers filed for trademark protection of “Los Doyers.” That’s how the team’s name is pronounced by many native speakers of Spanish; the nickname may have originated with former Dodgers outfielder and current coach Manny Mota, a native of the Dominican Republic. Angeleno Roberto Baly, who blogs at Vin Scully Is My Homeboy*, noticed “Los Doyers” T-shirts for sale at Dodger Stadium back in September—previously he’d seen them only at street vendors’ stalls—and followed the paper trail. According to another local blog, LAist, “the legal play is very much in character for the Dodger’s [sic] penchant for irreverent publicity stunts and savvy marketing moves.” Some observers have lamented the corporatization of an affectionate bit of street slang, but not blogger Dos Borreguitas, who called the move “a total nod to the huge Spanish-speaking population in LA, and a score for the Spanglish language.”
Non-official “Los Doyers” T-shirt from here.
Meanwhile, on the other coast, they’re squabbling over who coined the name “whoopie pie.” According to a Wall Street Journal story, Pennsylvania and Maine both claim to be the birthplace of the icing-filled, hamburger-size sandwich cookie. “We sincerely believe the Amish came up with it,” says Deryl Stolzfus, general manager of Hershey Farm Restaurant & Inn in Ronks, PA, which hosts an annual whoopie-pie festival. “The Amish moms used to put the whoopie pies in the children's lunches and when they found them they would yell ‘Whoopie!’” Balderdash, says Amos Orcutt, founder of the Maine Whoopie Pie Association. Mr. Orcutt says “whoopies have been a tradition in Maine dating back to at least 1925 with Labadie’s Bakery” in Lewiston. (Unfortunately, the bakery’s records were destroyed in a fire.) Both claims may be false, says Nancy Griffin, who researched the issue for Making Whoopies: The Official Whoopie Pie Book, which was published last year. The name probably came, says Griffin, from the 1928 Gus Kahn song “Makin’ Whoopee.”
Have you wondered how a major studio can release a movie with an utterly bland, forgettable title like this season’s Just Go With It? Apparently some people don’t think it’s bland and forgettable, that’s how. Marketing guy Matthew Cohen tells Salon why he likes Just Go With It, why Black Swan is a “sensational title,” and why he loves Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The title, anyway. (The responses to the article are amusing, especially this one.)
Chicco, an Italian baby-products brand, wants Americans to know that its name is pronounced KEE-ko, not “chico.” So it’s reaching out—as the expression goes—to its target demographic. The new campaign, the New York Times reports, “invites parents to enlist their offspring in the pronunciation lessons: Make a video clip of your baby saying ‘Chicco’ and it could appear on a billboard in Times Square.” The campaign also includes print and online ads, a mini website, and social media. I can’t help thinking it would have been cheaper to change the name to Keeko.
* Do I really have to explain who Vin Scully is?