December 03, 2006

Who remembers Ayds?

A while back in discussing Hormel's effort to defend the Spam trademark against association with unsolicited bulk email, I pointed out that the associations of a trademark can change in such a way as adversely to affect sales of the trademarked product without any violation of the trademark. Amy Forsyth, the person who actually runs the Linguistics department at the University of Pennsylvania, points out a particularly nice example of this.

Once upon a time there was an appetite-suppressing candy called Ayds. It came on the market in 1937 and sold well until the early 1980s. Around 1981, however, the disease AIDS began to gain the public's attention, to the detriment of Ayds, since the two had the same pronunciation. The manufacturer of Ayds tried changing the name to Diet Ayds, to no avail. The product was eventually withdrawn from the market.

Posted by Bill Poser at December 3, 2006 03:23 PM