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Author: TMFCisco Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 113  
Subject: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/13/1999 11:26 AM
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Dear Fools,

I see an interesting discussion developing here which I think warrants more thought.

A lot of you are talking about branding The Motley Fool with Tom and Dave and doing ads with Tom and Dave talking about The Foolish way. It's sort of tricky because this company has grown because of our dynamic duo at the helm. Their books, TV appearances and genuine interest and care in our customers has made this business what it is. But is it smart for us to only brand them in the center spotlight for the future?

Is it smart to brand a business based solely on personalities? We are The Motley Fool Inc. and Fool.com not TomandDave.com. We are made up of Tom and Dave, all the other TMFs and all of you. We are a company brought together by community and a shared vision. Also, Tom and Dave can only do so much and be in so many places at the same time.

Whereas The Fool, a figurehead and a symbol for education, enrichment and amusement can be branded across the growing corporation without risk.

Ideally, going forward, we rely on the strength of both the brothers and The Fool. Both will and should be branded but there are situations that call for one over the other.

There is an interesting article in yesterday's NY Times (front page of biz section) about Martha Stewart and the challenges of branding a company on personality.

Although our situation is totally different, the topic provokes thought nonetheless.

Fool on!

TMF Cisco
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Author: huibs Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Motley Fool One Everlasting Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/13/1999 2:23 PM
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<<There is an interesting article in yesterday's NY Times (front page of

biz section) about Martha Stewart and the challenges of branding a

company on personality. >>



..yeah, not always the best route for long term success..(folks die)..



..I think the Fool hat is a brilliant branding object...how fum would it to show two classrooms of adults..one class, dull and drab, discussing the market..everyone is bored, half are asleep..



..the camera can dolly out of that room, and down the hall, where a classroom of "Fools" in jester hats, is frolicing in waist deep cash, computers buzzing everywhere, blah, blah, blah..



..not a veru good idea, but you get my point....make the Jester Cap the Fool Icon..





..huibs..





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Author: TomGardner Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 70 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/13/1999 7:40 PM
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Huibs,

I think you're right on target.

To all the contributors, thanks for sharing your ideas. This first run of advertising has been a learning experience for us. . and net-net, I think it's been very, very strong. We are now verging on 2 million monthly users of Fool.com -- with the advertising campaign to thank for getting the word out.

That said, the branding spirit of the ads does not entirely capture the interactive spirit, the mix of wit and education, the power of, by, and for the people, the true beauties of this service. We need to work on that. Your ideas are very helpful in evaluating what works and doesn't, where we're getting it right and where we're missing stuff. Thank you.

Tom

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Author: michaelwj Three stars, 500 posts 10+ Year Anniversary! Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 71 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/13/1999 9:28 PM
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Tom wrote:
>Huibs,

I think you're right on target.
To all the contributors, thanks for sharing your idea<

Does this mean it's time to shut this message board down? If so, thanks alot Huibs! You could have come up with some crummy ideas and let this thing go on a bit longer.


Michael



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Author: lacow Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 72 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/14/1999 4:05 AM
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TMF Cisco writes:

<<A lot of you are talking about branding The Motley Fool with Tom and Dave and doing ads with Tom and Dave talking about The Foolish way. It's sort of tricky because this company has grown because of our dynamic duo at the helm. Their books, TV appearances and genuine interest and care in our customers has made this business what it is. But is it smart for us to only brand them in the center spotlight for the future?

Is it smart to brand a business based solely on personalities?


In my perception, the goal of branding the Motley Fool is to equate this company with money.

Think saving and investing, think Fool. Think getting out of debt, think Fool. Think car loan, think Fool. Think IRA's, think Fool. Think about anything financial, think Fool. You get the idea...but that's exactly what a brand does... it relentlessly beats you over the head until the specific becomes the term for the general: Jello for gelatin, Coke for soda, Kleenex for tissues, and U-Haul for moving truck.

To my mind, making David and Tom the "Ben and Jerry" of investing would not fit with their goal of educating, amusing and enriching the world. I agree that it would not be desirable for a service that is founded on community interaction and independent thinking to be defined by two (albeit dynamic :)) personalities.

But of course, Tom and David will be associated with the company much like we associate Dave Thomas with Wendy's, Bill Gates with Microsoft, Sam Walton with Wal-Mart, and Anita with The Body Shop. I don't think these individuals are brands in the same way their companies are. Much like the logo, the name, and the product itself are part of the brand, I believe these business owners have become the human component of the brand.

Harry Beckwith, writes in his absolutely riveting book, "Selling the Invisible", that all services (and products, too) are fundamentally selling feelings. Good feelings. Services, like the Motley Fool, satisfy intangible needs. Consumers need to use a service with the feeling that they've made the right choice. There are many ways to convey the Fool's message so people will view the Motley Fool as the best choice of Web site (and of books, products etc.) in matters financial. I think Tom and David should be somewhere in the line-up because,in my opinion, they are really good at selling the Fool as a great place to come and learn and have fun and make some money. They convey their message from the heart.

"In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart...Mass advertising can build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe that they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to a brand".(p.248)

Great brands always stand for something bigger than themselves.(p.260)

From an excerpt from Howard Schultz's book "Pour Your Heart Into It" which was excerpted in David and Tom's book, Rule Breakers/Rule Makers. (no copyright infringement intended :))

Fool on,

Lydia

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Author: ptinv One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 73 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/14/1999 10:17 AM
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Hey TMFCisco:

I didn't intend to suggest that Tom and Dave become the symbols of the brand when I mentioned looking in the mirror. However, it raises a good point.

As far as I can tell, Tom, Dave, the fool and the hat are the visual equities of the brand. Many would argue that a unique visual equity should be heavily leveraged to help a brand stand out in the clutter, especially a young brand that might have an ad budget somewhat shy of Coke or Bud.

I have no answer on the best route, but I'm not sure what was visually unique about the current spots other than the logo at the end. It was almost as if a camera was running while a radio spot was being recorded. Yet words are only half the power of TV. Many art directors would argue that even that is generous, but what do they know.

You might want to take a long hard look at the ESPN campaign. They've been doing great job at mixing humor, the product and on-air talent to build the brand.

Best of luck, and Fool on. You guys are the best.


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Author: lacow Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 74 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/14/1999 1:48 PM
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Hello all,

Here I am again, posting to a board titled, "Fool Ad Campaign, Seen It?" when I haven't :) --seen it!

I'm spending some time here anyway because I believe the Fool's message is extremely powerful and has the potential to benefit our entire society. Above all, it is a message that is needed.

I'm a little confused about some of the terms being used to describe different parts of the brand and the company. Particularly, I'm not clear on what is meant by "the Fool" in various cases and what the logo is. How I see things at this point (I'm not saying I'm right, by any means!) follows below and I hope more will be added and clarified by others.

In terms of the company, this is how I understand things:

The Motley Fool Inc. is the entire company. Fool.com is the Web site. At the heart of the Web site and in my opinion, the company, are the Motley Fool Message Boards --the community-- where we are right now. :) FoolMart is online retail of tangible products and information, like books. Fool books are also sold in stores. There's a Motley Fool Radio show and a syndicated newspaper column and a Motley Fool Magazine. There's probably more I haven't mentioned! And, last but not least, David and Tom Gardener are the co-founders of the company.

In terms of the brand this is how I see it:

The name "Fool", the jester cap, David and Tom, and the product itself are part of the brand, or as ptinv put it, As far as I can tell, Tom, Dave, the fool and the hat are the visual equities of the brand. At this point I don't recognize a slogan, like "Coke Is It", or "Intel Inside" etc. "Fool On!" is the closest thing to a slogan that I can think of.

In closing, I have a question for TMF Cisco. You wrote:

Whereas The Fool, a figurehead and a symbol for education, enrichment and amusement can be branded across the growing corporation without risk.

Which "The Fool" is this :)? Are you referring to the face, an admittedly wry-looking one, (nicknamed Elvis, I think) at the top left of this page as the figurehead? Is he also the logo in the ads?

Thanks and Fool On!

Lydia

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Author: TMFCisco Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 75 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/14/1999 4:09 PM
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TMF Cisco wrote:

<<Whereas The Fool, a figurehead and a symbol for education, enrichment and amusement can be branded across the growing corporation without risk.>>

Lydia wrote:
<<Which "The Fool" is this :)? Are you referring to the face, an admittedly wry-looking one, (nicknamed Elvis, I think) at the top left of this page as the figurehead? Is he also the logo in the ads?>>

Hi there,

I love this board. In between meetings, I race back to my desk here at Fool HQ to see what other smart people have contributed.

Which Fool was I referring to? Elvis, you got it. The jester that we try to put everywhere. He is on the site, in the ads, on the books etc. The question still remains though. Is it Elvis or the jester cap that stands as the branding icon for Foolishness? Which icon has the most impact? Which one should we put absolutely everywhere? Read back a few posts to where huibs made some excellent points about the jester cap.

Now all we need is a jingle to go with our cap. Like Intel's logo and sound, we would have our cap and jingle. Now, that sounds just poifect.

Fool on! And no Michael, this board is only just heating up. Don't you dare go anywhere :-)

-Sheila (TMF Cisco)

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Author: huibs Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Ticker Guide SC1 Red Motley Fool One Everlasting Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 76 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/14/1999 4:49 PM
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<<The question still remains though. Is it Elvis or the jester cap that

stands as the branding icon for Foolishness? Which icon has the most

impact? Which one should we put absolutely everywhere?>>



..hmm..

..clearly "Fool", "Foolishness", "Fooldom", "Foolcentricity" are the "brands" of TMF..

..and I think it's clear that the jester's cap, is the icon that best describes the above..

..I always thought the "elvis" dude was a bit scary, perhaps with a bit of a 'sneer', or 'dwarflike' quality..

..whenever Tom and Dave are on TEEVEE, I get comments from the unconverted, like "what's with those hats"??..or, "why do they always wear those silly hats"??...these are comments from the offices of Merrill Lynch, among others..

..being a Fool, that sort of thing makes me laugh, and futher entrenches the branding of "Foolishness" onto myself..

..I'd love to have seen the recent TEEVEE spots end with "FOOl.COM" as they do, but maybe the "F" is 'wearing' a jester's cap??....or the "dot" in "FOOL.COM it the 'bell' at the end of the jester cap??..



..huibs..

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Author: lacow Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 78 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/14/1999 6:46 PM
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Hi Sheila,

:) Flattery will get you everywhere...

In between meetings, I race back to my desk here at Fool HQ to see what other smart people have contributed.

Yes, it's fun to read the boards "in between". Thanks for clarifying that it's Elvis popping up everywhere -- forgive me for not having a clue!

I read huibs' posts :) and I agree that between Elvis and the jester cap, the hat's the better icon. I have a specific reason, but I didn't want to mention it until I was sure that Elvis was being used as the logo.

In Rule Breakers/Rule Makers Tom writes about seven critical features of superior brands. One of those features is Openness. He explains that a worldwide brand cannot be exclusive, but instead must be able to reach out and include all demographics. I don't think Elvis meets the openness requirement because although he's kinda cute, he's a white guy. Fools, of course, come in all stripes. I'm not sure Elvis, in his present state and coloring, can reach out to all people. Maybe as a line drawing (like the Starbucks woman) Elvis would be more inclusive, but he'd still be a he.

The cap attracts and is memorable, at least when worn by people. If seeing people in jester caps "doing something financial" could be linked to the icon I think the cap has the potential to make the Motley Fool one of those brands that is, as David put it in Rule Breakers/Rule Makers, "a topic of conversation for its own sake."(p. 109, Rule Breakers, Rule Makers)

[By the way, I wrote in an earlier post, Somehow I also managed to remember the name Gardener.. Well, obviously I didn't manage to remember how to spell the name! Apologies to the GARDNERS :)!]

Best,

Lydia





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Author: michaelwj Three stars, 500 posts 10+ Year Anniversary! Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 79 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/14/1999 9:06 PM
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TMFCisco wrote:
>Which Fool was I referring to? Elvis, you got it. The jester that we try to put
everywhere. <

I get educated more and more each day. It never dawned on me that figurehead was actually Elvis (although ironically, I'm able to spot him each time I go to Walmart). Which prompts a question: has a poll been conducted within the Foolish community to determine which Elvis (the younger, lighter one vs. the heavier, older one) should be used as the jester? And don't you think his smile is a bit like that character who had writer's block in 'The Shining?'
Just curious.

Michael

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Author: michaelwj Three stars, 500 posts 10+ Year Anniversary! Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 80 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/15/1999 1:22 AM
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Huibs wrote:
>not a very good idea, but you get my point....make the Jester Cap the Fool Icon..<

To take it one step further, perhaps the cap once donned magically transforms one's perception--
making money matters much less murky (the sword in the stone concept), and the wise to appear as they really are (foolish).


Possible billboard slogans to place next to 'Elvis' the jester:

'It's Good to be a Fool!'
(a take-off on Harvey Korman's line 'it's good to be king'--in one of those crazy Mel Brooks movies).

or:
'A Fool and his money are easily increased!'

or:
'It takes a Fool to understand'
(nah, too much like that village book)

Or, if you just want to rip-off Intel & Star Wars:
'Trust the Fool Inside'


Getting Foolish on you,
Michael



P.S. The last straw would be a camera shot of a newly renovated Mt. Rushmore (revealing jester caps on the prezs)







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Author: TMFJeanie Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 81 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/15/1999 1:41 AM
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TMFCisco asks:
The question still remains though. Is it Elvis or the
jester cap that stands as the branding icon for
Foolishness? Which icon has the most impact?


Sheila, if I may... my vote goes to Elvis as our most endearing (and enduring) branding icon. The jester cap all by its lonesome is vague and easy to miss.

As a comparison, I have in front of me right now, my business card (with Elvis taking up slightly more than half of the card) and a Fool notepad, which has only the jester cap perched over the words Fool.com. There's simply no contest, IMO. The notepad looks... well, empty somehow, without the recognizable face of what I've come to regard as our "true logo".

The cap alone holds no magic. It has to be worn to release the spirit of Foolishness, which Elvis' face captures so amusingly.

Just my 2c from way north of Madison Ave :-)

Jeanie


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Author: DavidGardner Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Supernova Phoenix 1
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Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/15/1999 1:50 AM
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Allow me just to add that my own vision and hope for Elvis is that his face not be the only one you ever see under our trademark cap. I have always wanted to have lots of faces sitting underneath that cap (in the same posture so that it's instantly recognizable and relatable to all the other "Elvises").

In time, I think we will.

That is the motley part of the vision.

David

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Author: Poge Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 83 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/15/1999 9:39 AM
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my vote goes to Elvis as our most endearing (and enduring) branding icon. The jester cap all by its lonesome is vague and easy to miss.

If Elvis was wearing a baseball cap, would he still be a Fool icon? If there was another face under that jester hat, would it still be a Fool icon?

I have to vote for the hat. Whenever I see a jester hat on TV, in a novelty store, even in a Bugs Bunny cartoon (only a Fool would challenge the Black Knight!) , I think of TMF. Elvis is just a creepy looking guy with blue eyes and a big S.E.G.

Speaking of "TMF". Has the Fool done anything to protect the letters TMF? Is there anything to stop someone from starting their own company called "Those Mighty Fellows" with TMFthis and TMFthat ?

- Mr. Poge

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Author: michaelwj Three stars, 500 posts 10+ Year Anniversary! Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 84 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/15/1999 10:27 AM
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>I have to vote for the hat.<
Me too. The jester can't refer to just Elvis. The public can, and will, link the hat to TMF.

>Has the Fool done anything to protect the letters TMF? Is there anything to stop someone from starting
their own company called "Those Mighty Fellows" with TMFthis and TMFthat ?<
Or, "Those Mean Felons." You don't want that company mistaken for the TMF.
But can you really protect a letter combination? Doesn't seem right.


Michael




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Author: Poge Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 85 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/15/1999 10:49 AM
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But can you really protect a letter combination? Doesn't seem right.

I don't know. I think a company can trademark multiple logos though, and perhaps TMF should consider some protection of "TMF". They should get tmf.com while they're at it, assuming it's still available.

- Mr. Poge

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Author: Poge Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 86 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/15/1999 10:50 AM
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...They should get tmf.com while they're at it...

Too late. tmf.com is technology-marketforce.com.

Oh well.

- Mr. Poge

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Author: lacow Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 87 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/17/1999 5:57 PM
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On Friday, David wrote:

Allow me just to add that my own vision and hope for Elvis is that his face not be the only one you ever see under our trademark cap.I have always wanted to have lots of faces sitting underneath that cap (in the same posture so that it's instantly recognizable and relatable to all the other "Elvises").

In time, I think we will.

That is the motley part of the vision.


And today, a new bell-capped Fool debuts on the Motley Fool home page: none other than Donald "The Elvis" Trump. :) Cool!

:) Lydia



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Author: michaelwj Three stars, 500 posts 10+ Year Anniversary! Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 88 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/19/1999 10:01 AM
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Lydia writes:
<And today, a new bell-capped Fool debuts on the Motley Fool home page: none other than Donald "The Elvis" Trump. :) Cool!>

Newsweek had an interesting article this week on the Donald--suggesting his political campaign could be a ruse to simply pump up his business interests. Somehow (and I'm occasionally fooled) I think he is sincere, though.
Interesting tidbits:
The Donald says he doesn't relate to having an ego.
His favorite book: 'The art of the Deal' (by D. Trump)
He calls shaking hands a 'barbaric custom'--and notes that some people want to shake his hand after using the bathroom (nobody in the Fool community, however).
Having the Donald underneath a jester cap was cool. But my first celebrity choice would be.......Elton John. If Elton became a Fool, maybe we would finally get that 'Donkey Castle' message group I've been harping about (within the Managing your Finances folder). There's alot of people stuggling with maintaining those things.


Michael



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Author: Fascade Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 89 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 10/28/1999 9:34 AM
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Huibs - I agree and more

Fool needs to answer it's competition to make the Fool brand relevant.

There are plenty of other boards out there for finance and investing. Why is this one best for them? And once they learn about investing what does Fool do for them other than act foolish. If they leave...that sucks. It is a lost opportunity. They are the newly educated fools, they know how they got that way, but then they are gone from fool.com. It 'tis foolish not to keep them. How can it be done? I think the success of the Fool brand depends partly on them.

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Author: TMFPopper Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 1/18/2000 10:48 AM
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But can you really protect a letter combination? Doesn't seem right.

Actually, French Connection UK pulled off a brilliant marketing re-invention doing precisely this. French Connection was an unremarkable brand in the UK until someone had the idea to re-brand themselves FCUK, so that people wearing their T-shirts made you check twice when the bold letters caught your eye. I understand they copyrighted not only FCUK but every combination of those letters! Now if they got a royalty for each utterance.....;-)

Anyway, greetings from Fool UK!

Phil

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Author: michaelwj Three stars, 500 posts 10+ Year Anniversary! Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 103 of 113
Subject: Re: The Motley Fool brand Date: 1/20/2000 10:23 AM
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Phil wrote:
<Actually, French Connection UK pulled off a brilliant marketing re-invention doing precisely this. French Connection was an
unremarkable brand in the UK until someone had the idea to re-brand themselves FCUK, so that people wearing their
T-shirts made you check twice when the bold letters caught your eye.>

Well, I hope Fool UK wouldn't stoop so low as to try to
copyright FOUK. I am not saying I wouldn't try to get ahold of one of these t-shirts and maybe wear it occasionally around LA (where it might not draw much attention), but I would still favor my traditional American Fool shirt (like when I work out at the YMCA, or attend parent/teacher conferences and stuff).

<I understand they copyrighted not only FCUK but
every combination of those letters! Now if they got a royalty for each utterance.....;-)>
Yes. Imagine how expensive a Quentin Tarantino movie would be to make in the UK if that were the case. And an English version of the Blair Witch Trial--forget about it. It would run over budget 5 minutes after those kids got lost in the woods.

<Anyway, greetings from Fool UK!>
Great to hear from you.

Michael
(traditional Fool)


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