the product naming blog

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July 20, 2006

What do you think of FEMA’s new name?

FEMA logoI hadn’t given this question much thought until I was contacted by Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Times and Southern California Public Radio.

During her live radio show on KPCC Radio, Monday, July 17th, here’s what I said about FEMA’s new name, Emergency Management Authority, or EMA:

  • If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck
  • The acronym EMA sounds too close to FEMA

Olay logoHowever, the broadened to re-branding in general and I thought I would share some interesting city and country name changes, some that may be familiar, some less familiar:

  • The Gold Coast is now Ghana
  • East Dutch Indies is now Indonesia
  • Bombay is now Mumbai, and of course has been in the news recently
  • Calcutta is now Kolkata
  • Bangalore is now Bengaluru, which by any name, is where many of the IT jobs are going

And do you recall the unsuccessful state name change effort from North Dakota to Dakota, to make the state seem a little less northern and cold?

Panera BreadSome successful brand name changes, in my opinion, are:

  • Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC, because they’re no longer just in Kentucky, sell only fried chicken, and sell only chicken
  • Boston Chicken to Boston Market, to reflect a broader menu
  • Oil of Olay to Olay, since most new Olay products have nothing to do with oil
  • St. Louis Bread to Panera Bread, from the Italian pane for bread

Finally, Atlanta Bread just changed their name to Zaria, which is Russian for sunrise. In my opinion, Zaria sounds more like a drug name than a restaurant name.

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Posted by William Lozito at July 20, 2006 5:23 PM
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2 Comments

Oil of Olay was previously known as Oil of Ulan.

In the Far East, Ulan (pronounced "Yulan" rather than "Oolan")was translated to mean Jade Orchid which Orientals can positively relate.

Olay pronounced as "Orlay" in the Fujian (Fukien) dialect of China means Dark, Brooding and Black.

The Fujian dialect is widely spoken amongst South-east Asia's ethnic Chinese population.

Perhaps, it is this negative connotation that may have affected the sales of this product in South-east Asia.

In the present borderless world, extra care should be exercised before changing a name or brand because just like the proverb "one man's meat is another man's poison".

Regards,

Joe Chow

Malaysia

I enjoyed you website. Please make note that Applebee's and T.G.I. Fridays restaurants are considered Casual Dining and not Fast Casual.

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