January 30, 2007
Is "Live" a Dead Product Name?
Can you have too much life? I'm seriously starting to think so, at least when it comes to product names. In fact, I’d like to add "Live" to the list of banished words for 2007.
Any word used too often, in too many ways, loses its meaning. Any name used for too many products dilutes the brand of all those products, not just the one that used it first. Apple recognized this when it decided to call its new internet TV receiver AppleTV instead of iTV. There are just too many products out there with a lower-case "i" in their names. And along with "i" and "My," "Live" is getting to be sooo 2006.
Yet companies are still jumping on the "Live" bandwagon. It's bad enough that Microsoft has saturated the market with everything from the confusingly named Windows Live search engine to the Windows Live Writer (Beta) offline blog editor (which by definition is not live, though it's actually a good blog editor) to Office Live’s web-based software, which does, at least, rely on a "live" internet connection. And let's not forget OneCare Live.
Now Pepsi has just announced Aquafina Alive vitamin-enhanced waters. Maybe I'm just squeamish, but I don't want anything in the water I drink to be alive. That's part of the point of drinking water from bottles and not out of streams.
"Live" is appropriate, if unoriginal, for anything broadcast directly without delay or editing, like live news and interview shows on TV. But "recorded live" has always been something of an oxymoron, and many other uses of "live" in the broadcast industry are redundant. (Would you want to record in front of a dead studio audience?)
Let’s put a moratorium on "Live" in product names for 2007, and get more creative.
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