Gentleman Rancher Causes Consternation

According to The Washington Post, David E. Lipson–a multimillionaire entrepreneur who was once chairman of Frederick’s of Hollywood–wants to trademark “The Last Best Place,” a phrase associated with Montana, where the tycoon has a ranch.
If Lipson has his way his various companies would have exclusive commercial use of “The Last Best Place” as a brand name. The phrase could be used to sell anything — real estate, footwear, maybe a fruit drink.
“It is a normal business practice,” Lipson said over lunch at his 37,000-acre ranch, called Paws Up, in the Blackfoot Valley. “You trademark your brands.”
“We were amazed that all the rights to ‘The Last Best Place’ hadn’t been trademarked,” he said. “It was shocking.”
Shock is what many Montanans felt when they heard about Lipson’s effort to lock up commercial use of a euphonious and wildly popular slogan he did not invent.
The phrase was coined by William Kittredge, a well-known western writer, as the title for an anthology of stories, poems and memoirs about Montana that was published at public expense to celebrate the state’s centennial.
“We just don’t like big shots coming from someplace else and claiming they own something they don’t,” said Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a rancher himself, as well as the first Democratic governor of Montana since 1988. “Who is he? The Wizard of Oz? We don’t think he is the Wizard of Oz, and I sure as hell ain’t the scarecrow!”



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.