November 2, 2006
New Brands: Getting a Whiff of Wiffiti
Everyone from Springwise to The Economist (PDF file) is talking about Wifitti, 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 "wi-fi" (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.
Posted by William Lozito at November 2, 2006 1:37 PM
Posted to Brand Naming
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