Is There Lead in Those Cookies?!?

Posted by | January 12, 2011 | General | 7 Comments

It’s that time of year again, when even the best intentioned New Year’s Resolutions kowtow to the almighty Girl Scout Cookies.  I consider myself a solid Girl Scout Cookie supporter and this is the first year that I have seen LEAD cookies in the Girl Scout Cookie family. . .

Apparently someone in the cookie department at the Girl Scouts is not familiar with homographs (words that are spelled the same but have different pronunciations and meanings).  Clearly, this cookie brand is Shout Outs!, but the cookie is branded with an imprint, that says LEAD, like lead paint in your children’s toys.  Yes, the word LEAD is slanted on the cookie like a team pendant, but still.  I can’t be the only one who notices this double entendre when visiting the Girl Scout Cookie website.  This is the kind of stuff the Daily Show and Colbert Report researchers live for, right?  (If they cover this too I better become famous, though I’ll settle for becoming a researcher for them.)

From a branding perspective, why would anyone want to expose their product to jokes or criticism?  Worse yet, the Girl Scouts have an inspirational branding campaign called “What Can a Cookie Do?”  Well, I ‘m sure we all can think of a few not-so-good things a lead cookie might do. . .  It’s the Girl Scouts’ thinking that befuddles me on this one.

BrandGeek Takeaway: It is important to consider each aspect of the consumer’s experience with your brand.  Branding is not just about names and symbols; it encompasses the entire experience your audience has with what you’re selling.  Pay attention to context and details because others will be.

About Lara

Lara Pearson is a trademark attorney with Exemplar, where she also serves as the firm's Sustainability Steward. Lara's legal practice focuses on trademark and copyright law, including: intellectual property audits; trademark search & clearance; trademark and copyright registration & maintenance; intellectual property transfers; transactional work; and dispute resolution, including litigation when necessary. Lara primarily represents other social enterprises -- those leveraging their businesses and brands as catalysts for positive social and environmental change. Such businesses engage in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to have a positive "triple bottom line" of people, planet and profit. As Exemplar's Sustainability Steward, Lara works with others in her law firm to measure and reduce the firm's carbon emissions and encourage engagement in social responsibility initiatives, including pro bono legal work and volunteering. Lara is a proud member of the Social Venture Network. Brand Geek is a member of 1% for the Planet and a Certified B Corporation, whose Incline Village office is certified under the regional Keep the Sierra Green program. Exemplar Companies is the most innovative professional services firm in the New Economy. Our unique, diversified expertise spans the disciplines of corporate law, business advisory, and capital/investment banking to better meet the needs of our high-potential customers. We have assembled a comprehensive suite of service to meet the complex issues facing companies in today’s challenging business environment. Our unique, holistic approach ensures the growth and success – and greatly increases the competitive advantage - of our customers. The Exemplar team is comprised of knowledgeable, highly skilled experts in a wide range of industries and disciplines. They work closely with our customers to provide trusted advice, incomparable support, expert guidance and the ultimate competitive advantage as they accelerate their businesses and position themselves to transform industries.


  • Devon says:

    Just FYI. Shout Outs! are branded with a variety of words relevant to the Girl Scout Mission. Such as: Create, Learn, Act, Inspire, Build, Change, Believe and yes… Lead 🙂

    • Lara says:

      Thanks, Devon! I appreciate your making the time to read and comment on my post. It must be that time of year again, as I’ve gotten a few new comments on this posting from last year. The other Shout Out! cookies just don’t lend themselves to satire as well as the Lead cookies do. 🙂

  • The_Ace_of_Sporks says:

    It actually means “lead” the target as when you aim your shotgun ahead of the target in trap or skeet shooting. Not a reference to the metal lead at all, as modern shotshells use steel shot. It is simply an acknowledgement that the cookies do, in fact, taste like clay pigeons.

    • Lara says:

      Thank you, I think.

      No, really.

      I really do appreciate that you took time from your day to (maybe) read my post and share your humor. That made me smile.

  • Lindy says:

    Reminds me of Chevy’s use of the mark “Nova” for its cars … for some reason they just weren’t selling in Mexico…

  • E. Nance says:

    Wow!!!! I knew the Girl Scouts were up to something.

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