September 4, 2006
Product Naming: Love Your Pejoratives
Pejorative names for well known products have always been with us, whether we are talking about the way some people call Taco Bell "Taco Hell" or Target "Tar-zhay". Everquest players (and probably their significant others) call the game Evercrack for its addictiveness as well.
One other brand the pejorative nickname of which has almost become mainstream is BlackBerry, which is constantly referred to as "CrackBerry" because people who own them, by their own admission, simply cannot kick the habit of checking them and using them. CNN recently did a profile on just how addictive a BlackBerry can be, discovering that while being in constant touch with the office can have detrimental effects on one’s personal life, it is probably ultimately a good thing.
BlackBerry users are proud of the CrackBerry moniker (see Mariah Carey image, right) …which is used gleefully by millions of “addicts” across the globe. By the same token, the Nintendo Wii, as I have written about before, has been the butt of constant jokes and even an Internet viral…and yet it seems to keep on ticking.
I do not think that branding companies name these devices hoping they will attract pejorative brand names. But I do think that the management of these pejoratives is quite an imaginative task for any name consultant, and one which can build equity into a company or product name if done correctly.
BlackBerry Cool proudly tells us how CrackBerry addicts "like being addicted" while people who are fond of Target and call it "Tar-zhay" have supported the resultant brand extension the nickname engendered among enthusiasts.
The customer is in charge, after all, and learning to love your pejorative could be one of the best business decisions you ever make.
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