RE: Help! Need official support for non-standard capitalization

Subject: RE: Help! Need official support for non-standard capitalization
From: "Higgins, Lisa" <LHiggins -at- carrieraccess -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 15:46:11 -0700

> I just started a job with e.Thingummy, Inc. (Note: names have been
> changed to protect the innocent...)
> However, in marketing materials and white papers, the current PR firm
> uses "E.Thingummy" when the company name starts a sentence.

Well, the big argument for not doing this is trademark dilution. Dick Clark
used to not only use small letters for his name, but he had a SPECIAL FONT
and everything! And that was a while ago. Lots of companies now are very
proprietary about their typographic conventions. Look up eBay and places
like that. There's this really stupid Sunday insert for teenagers called
'react' or something, and every time they use their name, it's in this
grotesque font that looks like blood splatters. (Those sloppy frenetic fonts
are just *so* 1997.) Anyhows, the point of having conventions like that is
to brand your name, and to make it recognizable at a quick glance.

I guess I would think that a PR firm would already have figured this stuff

> I'm concerned about the confusion factor of this capitalization shift,
> but was told that this capitalization conforms to the New York Times'
> standards.

You're right to be concerned. Without getting into cutesy typographical
conventions (I like some, don't like others), your company went to the time
and effort to come up with a branding, and the PR firm your company hired is
flouting it.

As far as the New York Times goes, my response to that would be something
along the lines of "Big whoop." The New York Times does a lot of dumb
things. They use honorifics after the first reference to a person, they
don't have comics, and they make you sign in to read the articles on their
website. If the New York Times jumped off a cliff, would your PR firm jump
off a cliff too?

> Can anyone help provide a reference to any respected standard-setting
> body that might allow the preservation of an initial lower-case letter
> in a company name?

Nothing official that I know of. A name is a name, though. And in the case
of a corporation, it's often trademarked. It's one thing if the NYT prints
your company name with an initial cap, and it's another thing entirely if
your PR firm does it. You can tell them I said "Sheesh" and also "Crimines"
if you think that'd help.


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