It was a day much like any other. Jimmy Manyi, the abrasive former Labour DG who’s now the Government’s spin doctor (where he replaced the suave Themba Maseko, who was apparently fired for having made a hash of the Nelson Mandela hospitalisation thing, but has since been told that he can now be DG at Public Works), announced that the Government has decided to drop the new slogan that it planned to use as the centrepiece of Brand South Africa’s new R140 million advertising campaign. This a mere two months after the slogan was approved by the cabinet no less! The luckless slogan:  ‘More Than You Imagine.’  Not to worry we were told, you (taxpayers) only paid R470 000 for the creation of that literary gem (and they say lawyers know how to charge). The slogan, which was to replace the somewhat ageing ‘Alive With Possibilities’, was dropped not because it was felt that it might become embarrassing if South Africa does indeed move from being a ‘Scalpel and Safari’ destination to the world’s foremost ‘Honeymoon With a Hit’ centre, but because it has apparently already been used by others parties, including the Portuguese tourism authorities.

Meanwhile SAFA announced that it is now seriously looking at coming up with a new moniker for the national football team. Not because Bafana Bafana is seen as being derogatory (as it once was), but because SAFA still doesn’t have the rights to the name. For those new to this field, SAFA waited many years before applying to register the name Bafana Bafana, and then found to their horror that they had been beaten to it by Stanton Woodrush, who had registered the name for clothing.

A shocking lack of attention to detail all round! Is there anyone (outside government agencies maybe) who still doesn’t know that if you come up with a new brand name, nickname, logo or slogan, you need to do searches to make sure you aren’t infringing legal rights. And you also need to do basic usage enquires (Google's always a good place to start) to make sure that even if the mark isn’t registered, it isn’t being used by someone else,  in which case it may be diluted and fail to distinguish your product. And that when you have decided on a name, nickname, logo or slogan, you need to register it immediately – it is, by and large, a first-come-first-served system. Could it be that there are still some people who don’t read this newsletter!

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