36 USC 220506

I am watching the Opening Ceremonies to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics when I spot the above commercial by Proctor & Gamble. Sure, the commercial presents a touching tribute to the moms of Olympians, but what really caught my attention was a citation to 36 USC 220506 in the closing frame of the advertisement. Of course, being the curious sort, I had to immediately look up the language of the code. Title 36 of the United States Code governs Patriotic Societies and Observances. With that hint, you can probably guess that 36 USC § 220506 pertains to the United States Olympic Committee. Here’s the relevant portion of 36 USC § 220506(b):

The [United States Olympic Committee] may authorize contributors and suppliers of goods or services to use the trade name of the corporation or any trademark, symbol, insignia, or emblem of the International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee, the Pan-American Sports Organization, or of the corporation to advertise that the contributions, goods, or services were donated or supplied to, or approved, selected, or used by, the corporation, the United States Olympic team, the Paralympic team, the Pan-American team, or team members.

legal marketing

Doing Business With a Handshake

Yesterday, Kevin O’Keefe wrote about his efforts to reconnect with his clients by visiting them one at a time. When he mentioned that the United Airlines “Speech” commercial (about having a face-to-face chat with every customer) aired 20 years ago, I was sure he was wrong because that commercial remains fresh in my mind. I looked around online and Kevin was right.

Despite the truth of the message conveyed in that commercial, United no longer does business “with a handshake, face-to-face.” Instead, United pushes all its customers to purchase tickets online. And, if you want to purchase tickets from a reservation sales agent, “the total price will include a $25 call center fee per ticket.” Once on board, United has also slashed its meal service so that if you want food, you either have to bring it yourself or purchase it from United. For the airline, that may save money and reduce wasted food; however, this approach also reduces the amount of service provided to customers and the opportunity for leaving a memorable experience. The net result is that all airlines provide an indistinguishable experience, except for JetBlue.

Another industry that has followed this approach is the banking industry. I don’t know if any banks still continue the practice of charging teller fees, but talk about completing dehumanizing your customer service experience. The funny thing is that a few months ago, I started receiving a lot of calls from banks asking me to open new accounts. Yes, these were banks that had accepted TARP money. But, who’s going to discuss their financial situation with some unverified person on the other end, even if you are sure it’s not a phishing attempt. The best bet for the banks would be for the teller to recommend some new financial products for the customer. But, if you push every one off to use ATMs, then you may need to do business with a handshake again, face-to-face.

Legal Research

Sandwich Showdown

New York Times: Can a Sandwich Be Slandered? Some companies have made a sport of using advertising to bash a competing brand: Pepsi and Coke, Colgate and Crest, Miller Lite and Bud Light. It was a rivalry of this sort that compelled Quiznos, the toasted-sandwich chain, to invite the public to submit homemade commercials in a contest intended to attack a top rival, Subway. . . . Subway promptly sued Quiznos and iFilm, the Web site owned by Viacom that ran the contest, saying that many of the homemade videos made false claims and depicted its brand in a derogatory way.

Where is tort reform when you need it? I think Chef Gordon Ramsay would be the ideal expert witness in this battle royale between sandwich chains. He is always insightful and entertaining. I’m no chef, but I’ve had enough sandwiches over the years to be able to tell the difference between a good sandwich and a bad one. My preference is Quiznos, Togo’s and Subway, from most favorite to least favorite.

Quiznos offers the best-tasting sandwiches. Their meat looks and tastes like real meat with excellent flavor and texture. Even their greens are better. Sauteed onions or the same-old shredded lettuce and tomatoes combination? No comparison. Subway must be feeling the heat because they now offer toasted sandwiches. However, while the bread is warm and crunchy, the fillings are just the same.

I like Togo’s. However, I have stood in line on more than one occasion saying (to no one in particular) that I wished Togo’s had toasted sandwiches. Usually, it comes down to how far I want to travel and how much change do I have in my wallet. Sure, Quiznos offers the tastiest sandwiches, but their sandwiches cost a pretty penny.

Legal Research

Reed Elsevier Changes Business Models

New York TimesA Medical Publisher’s Unusual Prescription: Online Ads. Reed Elsevier, which publishes more than 400 medical and scientific journals, . . . introduced a Web portal,, that gives doctors free access to the latest articles from 100 of its own pricey medical journals and [] plans to sell advertisements against the content.

As we all know, Reed Elsevier also happens to own Lexis-Nexis, a subscription-based legal research tool that many attorneys use. I think that these companies are starting to realize that more people are doing their own research online, and not necessarily through subscription-based websites. And, while they can squeeze a good handful of dollars from medical and legal professionals, they may be able to make even more money from these same professionals by opening up their resources to the general public.