La Satira News Service
Faced with a stagnating economy, crushing national debt, and a population unwilling to put up with new taxes, the Greek government today announced new and unusual measures to boost the country’s finances.
The source of this new financial lifeline? Yogurt. Or more specifically, the western world’s sudden fixation on “Greek-style” yogurts.
Announcing the government’s intent to file an international trademark on Greek-style yogurt, finance minister Leptos Paradaki praised the increasing market share of yogurt with “Greek” or other Greek-sounding words in their name.
“We are pleased that after all these centuries the rest of the world recognizes the superior health benefits of our style of yogurt,” said Mr. Paradaki. “My associates around the world assure me that Greek yogurt is slowly taking over the shelves of grocery stores. But if the rest of the world is going to derive the benefits of our culture–so to speak–and if these enormous companies can use our name to sell superior products at superior prices, isn’t it only fair that we derive some of the benefit, too?”
By filing for trademark protection under the Madrid Protocol, the Greek government seeks to gain control over the use of the word “Greek” as a marketing term, as well as a variety of existing Greek-sounding yogurt labels. The move is similar to that used by France to ensure that wine labeled as champagne actually grew in the Champagne region of France. However, rather than seeking to limit spurious products, Greece is seeking to capitalize by licensing the names to international yogurt producers.
“This application is ridiculous,” said Elsie Morden of the International Congress for the Culture of Yogurt (ICCY). “If this application is approved, it could have a chilling effect on the entire yogurt industry. I mean, I know yogurt is supposed to be kept cool, but this could really sour relations… I mean, incubate hostilities… I mean… oh, forget it.” Ms. Morden suggested the industry might engage in a tit-for-tat war of words, with new yogurt brands coming out under the label “Hellenized.”
If trademark protection is achieved, the new measure could cause a slight increase in the price of Greek-themed yogurt. “We don’t think we’re asking too much,” said Mr. Paradaki. “If people can pay a dollar or more for six measly fluid-ounces of product, I don’t think anyone will get upset over another nickel or so. After all, it was our idea in the first place.”