Press Releases

Every now and then I spot a fascinating press release that makes me stop and think: “Why is this in a press release?” If they’re especially mystifying, they make me consider philosophical topics that may never have occurred to me.

This happened last week when I came across a release that began with this: “New allegations bring into focus again the pre-confirmation investigation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh in 2018, according to the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI), the nation’s leading advocate of impartial workplace investigations.”

Umm … thank you for pointing this out?

Maybe this was meant for people who get their news entirely from press releases.

Later in the release we’re told by the AWI president that investigations should be fair. Someone might not have realized this otherwise.

I guess I may have completely missed the point of the release, but it did get me wondering about something else: Should investigations be outsourced?

After all, there appear to be lots of independent investigators out there. If the FBI can’t be bothered to interview witnesses, maybe Congress ought to hire private eyes. At least they’d be able to file unredacted reports when they’re done.

Do what? Then there are press releases that urge us to do something, but somehow fail to explain what we’re supposed to do.

Last week something called Canine Companions for Independence issued a release with the headline: “Take a Stand Against Service Dog Fraud During National Service Dog Month.”

How does one take such a stand? I have no idea, but you can pledge to do it on the Canine Companions website. My guess is that you yell “NO!” really loudly at the bad dogs.

Also be sure to train your service dog never to give her/his dog license number to an unfamiliar dog.

Burning issue. Being threatened with a lawsuit isn’t always a bad thing. You can turn it to your advantage.

Hence the press release last week from the operator of a hookup app called Wild announcing that Tinder, a more famous hookup app, was claiming that Wild was infringing its trademark.

Suddenly, I’d heard of Wild (although I’m far too advanced in age for it to do me any good).

The release got me thinking of an issue I’d never considered: What does a flame look like?

Tinder, at least according to the Wild people, was first upset that Wild was using what appeared to be a mirror image of Tinder’s flame trademark as the dot on the Wild i. So Wild said it changed the dot to another stylized flame. Tinder then objected to the use of flames.

I don’t know whether this is reasonable or not, but check out Tinder’s “flame.” Does that look like a flame to you? My first reaction was “that’s a lute.” It’s kind of a romantic instrument, so it sort of makes sense.

But then I realized that maybe it looks more like a gourd. Gourds look kind of obscene if your mind is in the gutter (or on Tinder). That makes sense too.

My third thought was: fat apostrophe.

The legal issue then becomes: do you have trademark rights to all flames if your mark doesn’t really look like a flame?

I can’t wait for the rulings on this.

Advice to Wild: Just use a gourd to dot your i. It gets the point across.


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