December 31, 2005
It seems that what goes around comes around. And this applies to corporate logos. Intel has just announced a logo change which will add the words "leap ahead" to a logo that now raises the familiar lowercase "e" in "Intel" to uppercase. More importantly, the well known slogan "Intel inside" will be scrapped.
Interestingly, this change comes on the heels of the much-reviled AT&T logo change that has brought the familiar uppercase letters of AT&T down to lowercase. I have already noted this change in an earlier blog post and posted links to other commentary on the subject.
It seems that companies cannot resist changing the font case when revising their logos. What goes around comes around, in the world of corporate logos at least.
Time will certainly tell what commentators — as well as Intel's customers — have to say about Intel's bold new move. One thing is sure: both old stand-bys like AT&T as well as newer superbrands like Intel can't resist a makeover, needed or not.
December 27, 2005
What retailer first comes to mind when you read the three letters "Wal?" Even though most of us think of Wal-Mart, Walgreens is the second largest retail pharmacy in the U.S. with over 4,200 stores, and, they first registered their eponymous mark in 1951, more than 30 years before the coined Wal-Mart mark was published.
From a trademarking perspective, I've always found it puzzling that two major retailers, both of which carry similar product lines, can operate in the same class code without creating consumer confusion, which, according to patent law, is the ultimate test of trademark infringement. But back in the 1980's chances are that Walgreens never saw the little Arkansas retailer as a threat, and thus didn't challenge the filing.
Now, however, Walgreens is taking aggressive trademark action of another sort - at the expense of its OTC drug suppliers. And once again, even though their actions may be confusing to consumers, the marks may be overlooked by marketers who value Walgreens' business more than the idea of protecting their brands.
On the same Walgreens' shelf where you find Sudafed and Benedryl, there sits the Walgreens' private label Wal-Dryl and Wal-Phed. Next to the NutraSweet you'll find Wal-Sweet. Not to mention Wal-Four (as in Bristol Myers 4-Way Nasal Decongestant), Wal-Tussin (as in Robitussin) and Wal-Zan (Zantac).
Thanks mostly to trade practices such as private label manufacturing and slotting (trading shelf-space for looking the other way) this practice is thriving at Walgreens.
The acid test, however, is the consumer. Are they confused about where to get Wal-Phed? Will they find it at Wal-Mart or Walgreens? Or should they just switch to another brand and avoid overburdening their decision making process?
December 23, 2005
I'm not sure if you took your chance to submit any name candidates for the contest to rename kangaroo meat that I wrote about in my November 27th blog post, but the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia has just come up with a winner – Australus. U.S. citizen Steven West conceived the name while at work one day. A BBC News article stated that some of the names submitted included
- MOM (meat of marsupials)
- Skippy, the name of an old television series whose eponymous hero was an intelligent and lovable kangaroo
Australus is certainly seen as a form of Australia, or Austria, and perhaps some people might see the connection to the very popular and successful Angus beef brand, thereby elevating their perception of the quality of australus as a meat. Mel Nathan, editor of Food Companion International magazine, said the new name might be a huge breakthrough for the kangaroo meat industry.
December 20, 2005
Other than Q, X, and Z, the remaining 23 single-letters in the alphabet may be available for sale, according to a recent Forbes article. Qwest had the foresight to lock up Q.com, Ebay with X.com, and Nissan with Z.com for it's Z series of automobiles.
The most likely purchasers of the remaining single-letter domain names will be companies with deep pockets and already built brand equity for a given letter. A few notable examples come to mind. E.com for E! Entertainment television network, O.com for Oprah's O Magazine, and Y.com for Yahoo! (Y!).
I can envision the following companies bidding on these single-letter domains:
Posted by William Lozito at 11:00 AM
Posted to Automotive | Brand Naming | Branding | Company Naming | Marketing | Media and Entertainment | Naming | Product Naming | Technology | Telecommunications
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December 19, 2005
In my earlier Product Naming: TV Brand Names Never Die, They Just Get Licensed post, I discussed how licensing deals have resurrected "dead" TV brands like Zenith and Westinghouse. It seems that the good brand name just can't be kept down.
Remember the Commodore computer? The original Commodore 64 was released in 1982 and taken off the market in 1993, during which time it sold 30 million units, making the Commodore 64 the best selling computer of all time according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
And now, it's back... a Dutch consumer media company, Yeahronimo Media Ventures acquired the Commodore name rights last year for $32.7 million and is using it now as its own company name. Commodore's instant recognition among technophiles attracted Yeahronimo (whose name is hard to pronounce and search for) and prompted Commodore's resurrection.
The new Commodore name is now on home media devices and a portable GPS system, a far cry from the ancient but beloved Commodore 64 computer that predated the Apple IIe. How beloved is Commodore? Well, Commodore 64 games have been formatted for the PDA and this year a book entitled "On the Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore" was published. Not bad for a brand name that has been out of business for over a decade.
Computer game fans from the 80's might remember Atari and Amiga, which have been kept in a sort of naming limbo by fans and a myriad of corporate owners but may yet see the daylight again in cell phones and low-end TV cabinets.
Other brand names that have also found new life are Polaroid and Sunbeam, both of which are now owned by Petters Group. The Polaroid name is used on high-end consumer electronics that include Plasma and DLP TVs, portable DVD players, digital cameras, and other home entertainment products.
Welcome back, old friends...
December 14, 2005
Naturally sparkling Badoit spring water is "one of the foremost table waters in France," but the company faces a two-level problem in the U.S. market.
First is the issue of pronunciation. Americans have a tendency to mangle French words, and "Badoit" is likely to come out as "bad-oyt" or "bad-what" instead of "bah-dwah." This isn't an insurmountable problem: after all, Americans had to be taught to pronounce "Perrier" and "Nike." As long as Badoit has the budget for the radio and TV campaigns required to get a critical mass of people pronouncing the name correctly, they can handle that problem.
The second problem is not so easily overcome. Even pronounced correctly, the name is still perilously close to "bad water"-exactly the wrong thing for customers to be thinking of. "Badoit" also sounds rather like "boudoir"-again, a long way from a drink to be ordered in a fine restaurant. To Germans, for whom "Bad" means "bath," the name may conjure images of taking the waters in an ancient spa town, but for English speakers, the name "Badoit" is a liability.
The AT&T logo change has created rich and voluminous commentaries in the blogosphere.
It is interesting to note that the BusinessWeek Logo Doctors were underwhelmed by AT&T's most recent logo design. Their conclusions were: "The third time's is not the charm, AT&T, and your new blue "beach ball" is full of hot air."
In an earlier AT&T Logo blog post of mine, before reading any commentary on the logo change and viewing it from the eyes of the customer, I concluded it was much ado about nothing. I still hold that view.
To see a historical evolution of the AT&T logo, click here.
If you were interested in more opinions about AT&T's new logo, the following blog posts would be worthwhile:
December 12, 2005
Much has been written about the upcoming Coca-Cola Blāk product introduction in France, by bloggers in the U.S., including me.
I thought a fresh, French perspective would be helpful. Beverage Daily.com quotes a French consumer with her thoughts about Coca-Cola Blāk that, in my opinion, captures the French sensibility:
This quote reminds me of when I asked the French business colleague if they sell processed cheese in France. He replied with "it's forbidden."
Sun Microsystems recently introduced a new server based on the Niagara chip, which reduces the power consumption requirements by a factor of five.
I can see why the Niagara code name has stuck in the marketplace as a product name. Just as one thinks of a waterfall as cool and refreshing, this conjures up the Niagara chip's main benefit of running cooler since it requires less power.
Conversely, I do not see the Niagara branded products in Victoria's Secret. Victoria's Secret is the epitome of femininity, while the Niagara name, in addition to conjuring up cool and refreshing, also conveys big and powerful, two associations that the Victoria's Secret customers would not likely want to be associated with.
So, I say yes to the Niagara brand name chip from Sun Microsystems. It fits in with the Sun's naming architecture that includes references to nature such as its Solaris and Galaxy brand names.
But a definite no to Niagara brand name lingerie at Victoria's Secret.
Here are other blogs that discuss the Niagara chip from Sun Microsystems:
December 9, 2005
Coca-Cola announced on Wednesday, December 7 the launch of a new, adult oriented beverage to be named Coca-Cola Blāk.
This new drink will add coffee flavored extracts to the traditional Coke drink, giving it an extra kick adults seem to crave. The stuff may be aimed at adults, but why am I reminded of Jolt ("twice the caffeine and all the taste"), a product that kids in high school and college buy by the caseload to stay awake while studying for exams?
The Coke Blāk launch will coincide with that of another coffee drink that has yet to be named, which will compete with Frappuccino and DoubleShot — both sold under a Pepsi/Starbucks co-branding deal.
Coke Blāk seems like a reach for the company. First of all, regular Coca-Cola is already black (OK, it's a dark caramel color but close enough). And why "Coke Blāk"? The word "black" may help the company cash in on the adult associations of other successful adult brands that use "black" — think Johnnie Walker Black and Black Velvet.
But why did Coke do away with the 'c' in Blāk? Only removing the 'c' in and of itself would not change the sound pattern. However, by placing a line over the 'a', which typically marks a long vowel, the name would be pronounced 'blake' - rhymes with 'take' and 'cake'.
I am guessing that the line over the 'a' is a visual branding element to distinguish the look of the name and introduce a cool factor.
Messing about with the Coke brand, the biggest brand on the block, may be a bad idea. They've been burned before with the short-lived failure of New Coke. Maybe they should have created a new brand name altogether? This one seems a little risky...the press tells us that Coke Blāk will offer us not only the "true essence of coffee" but will even have a "coffee-like froth when poured". Frankly, as much as I love Coke, I'm not sure I'm ready for a cold, carbonated java...especially since I take mine with cream.
Check out what these blogs have to say about Coke Blāk:
December 7, 2005
You just can't keep a good brand name down, especially in the TV business. For a few years now, the old-time TV brands have been making a quiet return to the store shelves. Companies that gave up manufacturing TVs years ago, like Westinghouse, Motorola, Zenith and Polaroid, have either begun making TV sets once again or, more often, licensed their brand names out to Asian upstarts who have entered the highly competitive USA TV market saddled up with names we all recognize.
Why the sudden resurgence in TV appliances? Well, TVs aren't what they used to be; the market for high-end, flat panel liquid crystal display sets has exploded and making good goggle boxes has become easier and cheaper, so companies are searching for any advantage they can leverage to gain a piece of this very lucrative but bloated market.
In addition, almost certainly by April 7, 2009 broadcasters will be transmitting your favorite shows on higher quality digital channels only. It means that a lot of Americans will be trashing their old sets and trading up for a new TV. Ironically, they may be buying the same brands that saw their heyday when Ed Sullivan and not MTV ruled the airways.
I learned recently that the German government believes its citizens are among the world's most pessimistic and unhappy people.
This gloomy 'Weltanschauung' has been widely viewed as the by-product of Germany's current economic woes and high unemployment rates. Perhaps not since the inflationary 1930s has the economic outlook for Germany been so lackluster.
Unable to leave bad enough alone, the German government recently launched a €30 million ($35 million) image campaign designed to boost morale and self confidence. The Gegenitiative (together initiative) centers on the simple yet sonorous slogan: Du Bist Deutschland (You Are Germany).
In my opinion, the blue chip advertising agency that spawned it probably chose the tagline for its brevity. In a nation of complex polysyllabic words and concepts - this refreshingly short (four-syllable) slogan may have been viewed as both memorable and emotionally stirring.
But that is also precisely why it doesn't work. After the bulk of the image investment was spent, German historian Stefan Mörz uncovered a 1930's photo that documents just how stirring this memorable tagline, or slogan can be.
"Denn Du Bist Deutschland" ("Because You Are Germany") was originally used by the Nazi's to promote a unified, socialist agenda that planted the seeds of the Holocaust. Which begs this question to the campaign's developers: "Du Bist Ein Blue Chip Advertising Agency (You Are a Blue Chip Advertising Agency)?"
December 5, 2005
I found it very interesting that the design of a classic toy created in 1932 is being used for a brand new external hard drive from LaCie. I assume LaCie has licensed the use of the LEGO design, although I found no evidence of this on their site. That toy is LEGO, not LEGOS, as the company reminds us.
LEGO, year in and year out, is one of the top 5 requested toys by boys for Christmas. It seems like adults have quite an interest in LEGO, too. A man from Reno, Nevada was caught selling $200,000 worth of LEGO bricks he had stolen from various Target stores in the West.
This is yet another way to value a brand, although I don't recommend it.
Jalynn believes the SecretSanta.comians got their money's worth.
First of all, Santa, Idaho, has only agreed to the name change for one year. Smart.
In addition to receiving $20,000 from the SecretSanta.com website operator, there is a possibility that this name change will become the subject of a documentary tentatively called Santa's Little Secret. If a documentary is made, the residents of Santa, Idaho, will share the profits of the documentary 50/50.
There is another town, this time in China, that is contemplating a name change. No, it is not Chery, China, named after an indigenous auto brand.
Chengdu, China, a city over 2,400 years old, is considering a name change for financial considerations of a different sort. The city's fathers believe that if they changed the name to Panda City, it would enhance the city's image and contribute to increased tourism.
What is the world coming to? Advertising is everywhere; the only place I haven't seen advertising today is on a toilet seat liner.
Would you agree?