Artisanal wordplay

Has there been a hipster-driven resurgence in sleeveless t-shirts, bad perms and ‘taches? Nope – it’s all to do with breakfast: Early Bird Foods of Brooklyn recently launched their HAULIN’ OATS range of “artisanal” granola to huge indifference applause from all and sundry, except from Messrs H&O’s legal department. Never accuse lawyers of having no sense of humour – their complaint perspicaciously identified that HAULIN’ OATS can be construed as an “obvious phonetic play” on HALL & OATES (court documentation filed to date does not reveal whether anyone actually chuckled but, still, we bet these guys are a scream at parties).   There’s nothing else on the granola packaging to suggest any connection and it’s not clear whether anyone in the real world has managed to confuse breakfast with band.

This may all be just a desperate bid for publicity and continuing cultural relevance. Having said that, it’s certainly wrong to coattail on the hard work and reputation of others and, whether in the US or the UK, you're likely to be on the receiving end of some stern words if you try. But, come on guys, there has to be some reputation to coattail on in the first place, otherwise it’s just a pun. And the harsh realities of modern celebrity are that reputations are all too fleeting - just cos you were big in the 80s, doesn’t mean you’re still the man.

Of course, stranger things have been known – if Paul Newman can hock pasta sauce and Barry Norman can become the face of pickled onions, maybe the cereal-eating classes of New England could indeed assume that Haulin’ Oats is the latest [unlikely] endorsement to hit their supermarket shelves. Or maybe they’ll think it’s a fond homage to faded rock legend, a la Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia.

We may be underestimating the 80’s nostalgia scene in Brooklyn, but BrandSoup seriously doubts that anyone currently munching their way through a nine-dollar bowl of granola is humming “Maneater” while they’re doing so. Or only in an achingly ironic way, in no way suggestive of any commercial association.

The biggest problem BrandSoup can see here is that we’re clearly in the wrong business – nine dollars for a bowl of brekkie????? It’s enough to make us weep into our Brand Flakes…

Related Articles