Commercial Umlaut

If you feel that your question or comment doesn't fit into the categories above, feel free to post it here.
Post Reply

Commercial Umlaut

Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Oct 20, 2014 2:18 am

.. thought that Phil and others may enjoy the following anecdote ..

.. I was in Canberra last weekend for the International Riesling Challenge .. at the Master Class the first flight was presented by a German representative .. he related how the US marketeers decided that it would be cheaper for them to negotiate to import bulk Rielsing and do the finishing and bottling on home soil .. this was accommodated but when it came to labelling the US/German Riesling international law stepped in .. the Americans had to think up a name for their plonk .. several names were suggested by the German exporters but the Americans were troubled until one of their marketing gurus realised the problem >>> *gasp* >>> "There is no umlaut in the name .. it can't be a good German brand without an umlaut!!" .. so the problem was solved with the insertion of some umlauts .. NOW it looks like good German Riesling ..

.. I enjoyed this anecdote more than the German Riesling ..

WoZ with 4 hours, 400 Rieslings, a glass and moi
Post actions:
Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: Commercial Umlaut

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:45 am

A similar bastardization of language occurred with the coining in 1961 of the brand name for one American manufacturer's ice cream — Häagen-Dazs. According to Wikipedia, it was supposed to be a tribute to the Danes for their humane treatment of the Jews in World War II (many Danes went out of their way to get them out of occupied Denmark and into Sweden, which the Nazis had not taken over).

But the fact remains that Häagen-Dazs is as alien to Danish spelling conventions as it is to English ones: there is no letter Ä in Danish, and the ZS digraph doesn't occur in any Danish word. As someone who speaks Danish, I find both the spelling and the justification for the Häagen-Dazs brand name laughable. No doubt its inventors reckoned (correctly, it seems) that their target consumers in the US would be either too ignorant or too complacent to object to this kind of pseudo-cosmopolitan pandering.
Post actions:

Re: Commercial Umlaut

Post by Bobinwales » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:41 pm

Most of the Riesling that we get in the UK is piß anyway.
Post actions:
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: Commercial Umlaut

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:50 am

.. these examples touch on a area of psycholinguistic study and that concerns what makes a language discernible as a particular language .. we have all had a situation where we were able to pick someone's nationality by the look of their name ..what are the essential elements ?? ..

WoZ MacZygwoskj
Post actions:
Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: Commercial Umlaut

Post by Phil White » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:45 pm

Bobinwales wrote:Most of the Riesling that we get in the UK is piß anyway.
Very good, Bob. Points for that one.

Otherwise, a similar phenomenon is well known in the heavy metal music scene, with many band names and song titles featuring random, pointless (but not dotless) umlauts.

As far as the psychology is concerned, it makes sense to a certain extent. The name must match the perceived content. There are a couple of spectacular single malt whiskies out there that I have only ever tasted, never bought. There is something in the name of a "Yamazaki 18 Year Old" that suggests it is not the real McCoy. But in reality, it is a magnificently complex whisky. The Japanese really are very good at whisky making.
Post actions:
Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: Commercial Umlaut

Post by Wizard of Oz » Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:39 am

.. Phil I have tasted the Yamazaki 18yo along with other Japanese whisky and close the eyes, ignore the label and it is another single malt .. just the same as Amrut, the Indian whisky .. the joys of Whisky Live each year ..

WoZ loving Islay
Post actions:
Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

End of topic.
Post Reply