Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Gratuitous umlauts in marketing

I was shopping in an upscale food store the other day and came accross: Lärabar. I thought this might be a new scandinavian import, but alas it appears to be a case of gratuitous umlauts, aka Heavy Metal Umlauts. This one looks like the real deal. It's not a case of simple foreign branding like Haägen Dazs. The lära part of the compound comes from the inventor's name, Lara.

Vital Energy, Chi Bar, Mana Bar … I considered several names, but everyone kept asking for “Lära’s Bars,” so it was only natural to settle on LäraBar.

Not sure where the umlauts come from, it wasn't in FAQ on the website. Maybe she really spells her name that way.

The whole thing reminds me of Hüsker Dü (the band). Wikipedia counts them as a non-gratuitous use of umlauts, because their name refers to the children's game, which had macrons. Without macrons/umlauts, husker du? means "Do you remember?" in Norwegian and Danish. Since the band takes their name from the game which had gratuitous macrons, the umlauts in the band name don't count as gratuitous.

9 comments:

Eric said...

'Member you and me, talkin' 'bout Dick Hell? 'Member?

liberal elite said...

Weren't we talkin about talkin about rememberin about Dick Hell?

boredoom said...

My favorites: Wölf, a U.S. beer brand, and Söft, an attempt to introduce the Swedish fruit-drink syrup "saft" to the U.S. Both sound like idiot-speak to the Swedish ear.

liberal elite said...

Wasn't Wölf a Pripps brand?

boredoom said...

Haha, you're right! Nordik Wölf seems to have been a Pripps export brand. I admire their restraint: they could have called it Nördik Wölf.

liberal elite said...

Another odd thing about Nordik Wölf was that it was a light beer. Something unheard of in Sweden at the time.

boredoom said...

Do you mean it had high alcohol but low calories? Swedish lättöl is otherwise very low in calories.

liberal elite said...

I was thinking high alcohol, low calories. Like American light beers.

Anonymous said...

I recently posted several comments on the LäraBar web site asking whether they meant the umlaut to change the pronunciation of their name.

They deleted the comments. Marketing umlaut it is.

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