Wedding photographer Sal Cincotta voiced his opinion on Facebook today about Miller Lab's launching a new line of albums using the word "Signature" in the title. Apparently Cincotta has a wedding album line that goes by a similar name, Signature Collection Albums, and he feels that there will now be "confusion in the market place." Read below what Cincotta posted on his Facebook page and voice your own opinion in the comments. Do you think Miller's was out to copy Cincotta or is "Signature" a generic enough word anyone should be able to use it.
Since his post on Facebook Cincotta has garnered a lot of support from his followers. However some have voiced some interesting points as well. Jay Gough mentioned in one comment that a quick search on Google highlighted at least 8 other companies on the front page that also use the word signature in their album marketing.
Here is the post Cincotta made on his Facebook page today....
Questionable behavior by Miller’s Lab or good business?
"Need your help. Questionable behavior by Miller’s Lab or good business? As many of you know, about a year and a half ago we started a company called Signature Collection Albums – scalbums.com – the goal was to provide a higher level of albums for our wedding clients and photographers wanting to separate themselves from the pack with high quality books. Imagine my surprise when I picked up a recent issue of Professional Photographer and Rangefinder and they chose to run ads (6 pages mind you) featuring Miller’s “new” album line called “Signature Albums”.
"Now, you tell me. Much ado about nothing? Or should I be concerned? My concern is it creates confusion in the market place. For anyone who knows our brand, it implies that we are possibly endorsing this product, which is obviously not the case. Every time I get up and speak about these albums will there be confusion as to what I am referring to? And worst of all, it wreaks of a multi-million dollar company stealing an idea/concept with little to no regard for the smaller company because, quite frankly, a law suit would cost us near 6-figures to defend! "
"Is it possible that the marketing team over at Miller’s was unaware of our branding? Possibly. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and go to google shall we? Google “Signature Albums”. Weird. Signature Collection Albums, our company, comes back #1. Maybe they missed that. Is it possible that they were unaware of our advertising? I guess the fact that we advertise in print magazines like Rangefinder or even Shutter Magazine could have been missed. Maybe they missed the fact that we advertise or have booths at the WPPI and Imaging USA tradeshows. Or missed that we speak on shows like Creative Live to an audience of 30-50k people? "
"I guess it’s possible they just missed all these things and I am just making something out of nothing. Or, is the obvious answer smacking me in the face? So, we reached out to Miller’s Lab, hoping they would see the mistake, acknowledge it, and address it immediately. Surprise. Ding ding ding. The obvious answer wins. Miller’s sees nothing wrong and will continue this campaign until we force them via legal action to stop. WOW. Can you imagine if in your local market, after spending tens of thousands marketing and branding your business – lets call it “happy moments wedding photography”, someone came up with a similar product or service, took your business name, minus one word, and started a monster ad campaign offering “happy moments photography” by bill in your local market? This would and could be devastating to your brand! It would create mass confusion with your client base."
"So, I ask you. Much ado about nothing? Or bad business by Miller’s Lab? Come on Miller’s – be the unique and innovative company you position yourself to be. Unless your marketing team has been living under a rock for the past year and a half, there is no way they missed it. Not caring is not good a business practice. Am I off base being concerned about this? Tell me your thoughts?"
Is the word signature generic enough that everyone should be able to use it or does Cincotta make a valid point?