Marketing Word Of The Word Of The Month Is: “Barcalounger”
I have no idea. It happened spontaneously.
Perhaps I was subconsciously craving delightfully ridiculous phonemes.
And, of course, this begs the question: What the heck is a phoneme?
Phonemes are clearly distinct units of sound that give a word its character.
So, bonus Marketing Word Of The Month is “Phoneme.”
Two words for the price of one. I am nothing if not a giver.
Anyway, by the standard of the Ridiculous Phoneme Test, “Barcalounger” is a clear candidate for MWM.
The hard “K” sound.
The “lounge” component, which makes you wrap all of your articulators around it with a big, round sound.
Say it aloud and proud: BARK-A-LOWN-JUR. All those components!
It has presence and power while maintaining a degree of ridiculousness.
Yes, presence and power--much like the designer himself, Edward J. Barcalo.
The man was a force in business.
He founded the company that is his namesake in 1896.
In 1916, he became president of the Associated Manufacturers of New York.
He registered various patents that demonstrate his capacity for presence and power and ridiculousness.
His patent for a bed spring brings with it a certain significant and business-like yawnability.
Meanwhile, there’s also Mr. Barcalo’s patent for canned synthetic snow.
Three words that have probably never been assembled thusly before or since, “canned synthetic snow” offers the kind of industrious ridiculousness one might hope to see in a man whose heritage product is a lounge chair with a funny phoneme-filled name.
It’s a word that became comedy gold for generations of writers, comedians, directors, and other people whose job it is to elicit any reaction on a laughter response spectrum from giggle to guffaw.
But the ones laughing all the way to the Barca bank must be Ed’s heirs.
One hopes they continue to reap the profits of their elder’s insight regarding the American penchant for supine seating.
Say it again. BARK-A-LOWN-JUR!
The mechanics of its pronunciation are epic.
It ranks up there with “Saskatchewan,” “septuagenarian” and “saddle soap” for its unique musicality, yet stands apart for its utter lack of an “S” and bringing the “kuh” and the “juh.”
And sure, this also seems uniquely and fabulously American.
But did you know that long before Barcalounging entered the American consciousness, the French were already on the scene?
Let’s lounge all the way back to 1850. This is half a century before Edward even considered the business of being a lounging Barcalo.
Some industrious French designer person gave the world a steel-framed folding camp device that could be used as a chair, a bed and a chaise longue. (That is not a typo. L-O-N-G-U-E. “Longue” is a French word pronounced “long” and meaning, surprisingly, “long.”)
One can only hope that the French camping recliner comes with convenient holders for both the long-stemmed camping wine glass and the compartmentalized camping snail plate.
That said, it seems that Americans brought the reclining chair into its own.
Two cousins named Knabush and Shoemaker received the first patent on a reclining chair that was the nascent La-Z-Boy.
Another forceful gent, Daniel F. Caldemeyer, patented his own chair. It was based on his knowledge of the science of kinetics acquired while serving in the United States Air Force.
Mr. Caldemeyer eventually evolved his product into astronomically high-priced chairs for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs.
SIDEBAR: The naming of the various rocket programs after Greek gods makes one speculate.
Is there any Greek deism at work in the science of lounging kinetics?
And could Barcalounging have been an ancient Olympic sport?
So many questions, but I digress...
There’s even a Caldemeyer chair bearing the presidential seal in the Smithsonian.
Lounging (or longuing, as the French might say) make one long for a simpler, more reclined time.
And in these contemporary days of conflict and friction, all these long chairs and ridiculousness beg the question, can’t we all just get a chaise longue?
Your Marketing Word Word For The Month: Barcalounger...
But, if a French person had invented it, would it be a Barcalongue?
Barcalong, would you, mon cheri?
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in Park City
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Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.