Ordinarily, I am devoutly against unfair brand associations. I go out of my way to say "adhesive bandage" when others might say Band-Aid, "tissue" rather than Kleenex, "hook and loop fastener" instead of Velcro, so on and so forth.
In addition, I am a staunch advocate of patent reform; in the case of Lego v. Megabloks, I have to agree with the verdict which stated Lego cannot own the shape of the block, and thus other companies are allowed to make blocks that interact with Lego blocks. This is a good thing for both culture and the marketplace.
There's one product, however, that I actually advocate associations, provided the association causes a total domination of the market. That product is ketchup.
To me, there is only one ketchup, and if it were up to me only the Heinz corporation would be allowed to manufacture it. Conversely, I'd also be OK with forcing Heinz to allow other manufacturers to produce ketchup that falls within the guidelines they specify.
See, Heinz is simply the best, there is no contest. Many restaurants proudly serve Heinz because, as they should, their customers demand it. Some, however, decide they can defer costs by either refilling the Heinz bottles, or worse yet, refilling the Heinz bottles with inferior brands of ketchup, in the hopes that the consumer doesn't notice.
Let me tell you, sleazy businesses, I do notice. Those bottles say "do not refill" for a reason. See, when you top off a ketchup bottle, it allows the ketchup below the topped-off bit to ferment, thus ruining the flavor of the ketchup, and causing a misrepresentation of the glorious Heinz name emblazened across the bottle. This is a bad thing.
For a few years, I was considering writing a letter to the Heinz company, inquiring what the process to become a Ketchup Deputy entails. Could I have a badge to whip out of my billfold whenever I spot the telltale signs of ketchup corruption (tiny bubbles on the side of the bottle, or a foul non Heinz flavor)? Then I thought about trying to get Heinz to require licenses to display a Heinz bottle; only restaurants that pass the weekly ketchup inspections would be allowed to use the Heinz name. Then I realized that both of these measures are too costly, and ultimately would hurt America.
The way I see it, the only two options are: a) the total elimination of all other ketchup manufacturers, or b) a dilution of the trademark which would, in essence, make all ketchup into Heinz ketchup.
Either one of these would be O.K. by me, so lets go ahead and get on it. You can decide amongst yourselves which way you want to go, but clearly, America needs to unite under one ketchup. This country was founded on ketchup, and it is vital that we work together as a country to maintain our quality ketchup. Or ketchups, it's really up to you.
The author lives in Vancouver, Washington, USA with his girlfriend and a menagerie of cats, rats, fish, birds, guinea pigs and robots.
Among other inanities, he strives to use investigative techniques to work young starlet breasts into every aspect of rational discourse -- focusing on the discourse, thus making it not perverted. Also, has recently begun a career as "Internet hairstylist."
He can be contacted via email and Jabber IM at 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. He likes to be contacted.
(All press inquiries, however, ought be directed towards the author's agent, Alistair Hoel, via email to email@example.com.)