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November 2, 2006

New Brands: Getting a Whiff of Wiffiti

WiffitiEveryone from Springwise to The Economist (PDF file) is talking about , the latest opportunity for cellphone carriers to make a killing. It makes sense to use a portmanteau name to describe a portmanteau product, so the choice of "Wiffiti" for a technology that lets you write on the wall (well, a wall-mounted TFT display) with SMS text messages is logical.

The difficulty with this name is one of pronunciation. Once you break it down and recognize that it's a combination of "wireless" and "graffiti" it's easy enough, but English pronunciation rules, such as they are, pull the mind and the tongue toward a short "i" before the double-f.

"Graffiti," after all, has a short "a" as well as a noble history on the walls of Pompeii.

A simple hyphen would help solve this problem. Thanks to the spread of the term "" (and its predecessor, hi-fi), "Wi-ffiti" or "Wi-fiti" would make both origin and pronunciation of the name much clearer. The only problem with that is that digital graffiti systems don't use wi-fi technology.

The bomb-proof brand name and the Holy Grail do have a few things in common.

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Posted by William Lozito at November 2, 2006 1:37 PM
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1 Comment

I really appreciate your analysis.

It is hard to be "cool" and on the cutting edge if you can't figure out the pronunciation.

Thanks for stirring our minds up out here in the blogosphere!

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