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July 31, 2007

Are These Mexican Restaurant Brand Names Different or Similar?

A Mexican restaurant chain based in Delaware changed its name from La Tolteca to La Tonalteca.

tolteca.gif The basic reason for the change is that they did not register its original restaurant brand name, La Tolteca. You guessed it, other Mexican restaurants opened up with the same La Tolteca name.

Although the new name, La Tonalteca, has an interesting translation (the lady or queen from Tonala) it strikes me as a difference without a distinction versus the original La Tolteca name.

  • Of course, 'La' translates to 'the'
  • Both names start with 'To'
  • Both names end with '-teca', which translates to 'tribe'

Although this linguistic origin of the new restaurant name, is very interesting, I'm wondering, just wondering, if the average Joe or Jane will see a difference between the two restaurant brand names.

I said as much in a recent article in the Delaware NewsJournal.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:59 AM

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Getting Greener and Cleaner: Company Naming Changes and Brand Names

You'd have to be on Mars not to know that there's a growing green movement in the U.S. (and Europe).

The green trend has manifest itself with more and more company names and brand names in the U.S. capitalizing on increased consumer interest in protecting the environment and concern about global warming.

Our proprietary 2006 Company Naming Changes Report identifies at least 10 companies that have changed their name to take advantage of the green trend. Two examples are

  • Safer Residence Corp. to Solar Enertech Corp.
  • Metasun Enterprises, Inc. to Pure Biofuels Corp.

This green trend, as mentioned earlier, is also being reflected in some interesting new product names.

360vodka.gif For example, wine makers are trying to sell us old wine in new plastic bottles and vodka makers are creating a more ecologically-friendly tipple.

The world's first eco-friendly vodka, 360 Vodka, uses locally grown grains resulting in reduced fossil fuel consumption in transporting raw materials to the distillery, and their glass bottle is made from 85% recycled glass.

Furthermore, we've already covered how Steve Jobs is repositioning Apple to be a greener and friendlier computer company.

Now the Chinese computer archrival Lenovo brand is trying to clean up its act as well... as are Dell and HP. These days, it seems, Greenpeace is actually becoming a brand name consultant to big businesses.

For more analysis on company naming changes in 2006, click on the Company Naming Changes Report button at the top of our home page.

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Posted by William Lozito at 7:25 AM

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July 30, 2007

Technology Companies using Branding to Move Closer to Consumers

It's a well-known economic fact that the higher you "move up the food chain" to the consumer, the higher the margins.

Technology companies are well aware of this Law of Proximity, a term I just coined.

However, technology companies execute against the Law of Proximity in different ways.

  • Intel.gif In the case of Intel, they branded a component of a computer and established a brand preference for it with its Intel Inside® campaign. Even engineers with Master's degrees in electrical engineering, who should know better, prefer Intel over Advanced Micro Devices as the chip in their personal computer, while both are capable of the same functionality and performance.

  • freeagent.gif Seagate is moving up the food chain with its introduction of a new product called FreeAgent&trade. Although this product has functionality such as duplicating content and sending it via email or to your iPod, it essentially is a mini-server positioned for the B2C market.

  • Cisco.gif Cisco has largely bought its way up the way up the food chain by purchasing B2C companies such as Linkysys. However, John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, has just acknowledged that although Linksys is a better-known product in the US, over time, it will be dropping this name in favor of the Cisco master brand. In effect, Cisco will evolve from a B2B brand to a combination B2B and B2C brand.

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Posted by William Lozito at 1:32 PM

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July 28, 2007

Fine Lines in Aquafina Brand Name

Aquafina bottleThe CNN Money headline proclaims "Pepsi says Aquafina is tap water."

If you read the article, though, Pepsi never denied that (like its rival from Coca-Cola, ) is essentially tap water. They just didn’t make the truth explicit enough for .

The old Aquafina labels say "P.W.S." instead of "Public Water Source." Now, admittedly, "Public Water Source" might not have been my first guess as to what "P.W.S." stood for. But the initials by no means conjured up visions of pure mountain springs (should such a thing still exist).

And I would argue that Aquafina, Dasani, and the like taste better and are safer than a lot of tap water in the US, never mind in countries whose public water supplies are home to unfriendly intestinal parasites. They may be overpriced for what they are, but then, so is soda, and part of what we’re paying for is the convenient portable container, delivered cold.

Certainly nothing in the name Aquafina is put to the lie by the explicit admission that it comes from the same place as municipal water supplies.

  • “Aqua” just means water in Latin.
  • “Fina” is doubtless meant to conjure the English word “fine,” though the closest Latin word is finis, meaning “end” or “boundary.”

And I would say that wherever it comes from Aquafina is perfectly fine water, but way, way overpriced.

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Posted by Diane Prange at 4:04 AM

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July 27, 2007

International Product Naming and Branding: New Improved Shito is Hard to Digest

shito-mix.gif cock.gif Remember those Hungarian Peppers, Portuguese Sardines and Spanish Fig Cakes your Uncle Bob and Aunt Bertha brought back from their European tour in '72? The sheer uniqueness of the hard-to-find food products made them a valuable and treasured gift... in fact, they were almost too good to eat.

Flash forward to 2007.

Today, international packaged food products can cross borders at the click of a mouse... creating entirely new markets for what was once a niche specialty. As a result, savvy food marketers from all over the world are queuing up to list their packaged products with online specialty retailers, grocery delivery services and even on eBay.

fart.gif batata-bricks.gif But a word of caution is long overdue. Some of these products names do not translate well into the international language of commerce: English.

Here are some naming and branding product examples that could have benefited from a second linguistic opinion.

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Posted by Diane Prange at 10:59 AM

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July 26, 2007

Are Domain Names Becoming Brand Names in the Press?

An interesting post has been published by The Conceptualist that looks at the way established brand names are now referring to themselves in the press using their domain name.

Our proprietary analysis of company name changes showed a definate obvious shift away from dot-com names. I'm wondering, just wondering, if we're going full circle with dot-com names beginning to become in vogue again? Could this be due to the Web 2.0 influence. Or is this just another example of the natural rhythm of nature. What's out is in, and what's in is out, back to what's out is in.

But The Conceptualist has identified the fact that while the company's official name may not be a dot-com, they are happy to refer to themselves that way.

ABC-Logo.gifThe Conceptualist points out that ABC refers to themselves as and that Advanced Internet Technologies refers to themselves at

That's a darn good observation, and illustrates the fluidity of company naming.

Although it's obviously becoming easier for companies to simply refer to themselves as domain names if they want to drive traffic to their site, it also makes having a domain name that is pretty close to your company name or brand name much more important.

Obviously, your domain name has become a crucial part of naming a business.

20th-cent-logo.gifThis is all probably ringing a bell at Twentieth Century Fox, who just won its suit against a cybersquatter over The Simpsons Movie domain name.

In any event, the real game here, of course, is getting people to come to your web site without having to type in the domain directly.

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Posted by William Lozito at 10:33 AM

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July 25, 2007

Saucony Name Branding Getting Corny Without Cheerleaders

SauconySaucony has me stumped. The '80s shoe brand name has a new parent company, Payless Shoe Source, and is stepping out with a new brand identity, including a new brand name and refined logo: the brand name is now lowercase and neater looking. By the way, lower-case logos, either brand or company, appear to be a trend these days - think nielsen, at&t, unum.

OK. So far, so good.

They have kept their "Loyal to the Sport" slogan. Which is fine except for the fact that lots of their sneakers look like they are made for relatively sedentary non-runners. Who is Saucony being loyal to? Skateboarders, walkers or runners? Competitive rap artists? Which one is THE sport?

Ok, never mind. Let's move on. The real head scratcher is that Saucony is introducing a new brand "manifesto" on boxes and hangtags: "A good day is when we get to run. A great day is when we inspire someone else to run."

I'm just not getting this. It sounds like a weird take on Nike's "Just Do It" slogan, but in this case it's "Just Get Someone Else to Do It." It's right up there with that old riff on the Soloflex "No Pain, No Gain" campaign, which was transmogrified by some wags to "No Pain, No Pain."

Nobody seems to know where a slogan stops and where a "manifesto" begins, by the way.

Additionally, Saucony will use the line "No Cheerleaders Required" to promote their cross country shoes.

Well, yeah, that's right, guys. Cross-country runners don't get cheerleaders. They have never been required. Am I missing something? Are there squadrons of teenage girls out there somewhere waving pom-poms at long distance runners?

The whole point of this new campaign is to make the brand name more streamlined and congruent. This has not been achieved, people. You have an ad line, a tagline and a manifesto and not much of it makes sense.

Plus, and I hate to say it, but nobody can pronounce your company name. Is it "sock-on-ye," or "sew-cone-ee"? Surely, it's not "so corny"?

That's not very inspiring.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:35 AM

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July 24, 2007

Hot Ghetto Mess The Worst Naming Mistake of 2007, Possibly Ever

Who says bloggers can't force a media company to reexamine its naming strategy?

The recent news that the exploitative and ridiculous Hot Ghetto Mess aired by BET has had its name changed to We Got To Do Better, is great news for anyone with a shred of decency.

The change was forced on the network largely through the efforts of one lone blogger, Gina McCauley, whose blog, What About Our Daughters slammed the incredibly racist content of this show which is, amazingly, supported by a black network despite the fact that it references an obscene website that might as well be a propaganda medium for the KKK.

Jasmyne Cannick asks the logical question about the name change: "After we finish laughing at each other so hard that it hurts, are we then supposed to be inspired to do better for ourselves?"

One thing is clear: No sponsor in its right mind wants to tie their brand name to a show (and by proxy to a website) "featuring naked black women and a black-face cartoon."

BET-logo.gifIt seems that no one on TV is more exploitative of black culture than BET, who has claimed that they are not really backpedaling: The original name of the show was Hot Ghetto Mess: We Got To Do Better.

Yeah, whatever.

Jack and Jill Politics asks: "When will the minstrel shows end?" and suggest the current grammatically incorrect name get changed to BET Got to Do Better.

BET, nix the show, you nitwits.

You don't have to be a naming company to see that this is rotten to the core.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:50 AM

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July 23, 2007

5 Boroughs Ice Cream Staten Island Landfill Great Product Naming

I believe that one great way of getting people interested in your brand name is to get people angry at you.

5-logo.gif This is certainly the case with 5 Boroughs Ice Cream, a New York based ice cream company which was attacked last month by Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro for their Staten Island Landfill flavor.

Seems Mr. Molinaro found this product name "insulting and derogatory" to the borough.

But after Mr. Molinaro's outburst (and his urging that Staten Islanders boycott the stuff), sales skyrocketed, drawing attention to the company's other cheeky product names that have a distinct New York flair: Upper East Side Rich White Vanilla, Jackson Heights Mangodesh, Bakla-Wha?! and South Bronx Cha Cha Chocolate.

This has even prompted people to write in from Connecticut asking for their own flavor on the grounds that the small state is the "sixth borough."

ice-cream.gifI'm all for supporting the small business person and like the idea of these unique names on ice cream. New Yorkers, I would bet, eat lots of ice cream, as do the rest of us, who all want a piece of the city. And there can be no doubt that when a name enrages certain people, well, you're on your way.

Especially if it's a clever name.

On the other hand, McDonald's ill-fated Supersize name branding campaign seems to have come back from the dead in a new format: The "Hugo," a whopping 42 oz. drink that you can get for as little as 89 cents.

The New York Times says they may as well call it the "Tubbo" and notes that Wendy's is also offering its own gargantuan drink brand name: The medium is now "The Biggie".

McDonald's knows that they are really competing with places like 7-Eleven, who have been offering The Big Gulp for years.

The celebrity diet doctor calls this "Super-Sized II, The Sequel" and another blogger wonders why McDonald's would name a drink after a hurricane.

As for me, I was reminded of Hugo the Hippo, which is what we'll become if we drink too many of these things.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:09 AM

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July 21, 2007

LEGO Brand Name Usage Pretty Complicated

LEGO bricksAn amusing post by Ken Jennings caught my eye this morning: Ken takes on one of the bugbears of product naming: How the heck do we use the word "Lego" without offending the company?

Seems that one of his readers wants us to use the word as LEGO, and we never add an "s", something I have written about before. The LEGO Company agrees.

Ken notes that the Chicago Manual of Style doesn't seem to agree, stating that the way we write ad copy is different from the way we write prose in other contexts. This means the all-caps formulation is not necessary.

Ken points out that a quick Google search (almost used that word as a verb) shows us that people just ignore these injunctions.

And nobody uses the term "LEGO bricks" — some of my staff have bags of the stuff and even though they are about as brand name conscious as can be, they admit to never, ever suggesting to their kids that they go "make something out of those LEGO bricks." It's "go make something out of Lego," which is a no-no, just as bad as "Go play with some Legos."

Friday's "Secret Diary of Steve Jobs" accuses Google employees of being "a bunch of spoiled coddled self-involved Lego-playing 20-somethings" — no, according to LEGO, they should be "spoiled twenty-somethings playing with LEGO bricks," which doesn't really work in context.

You also cannot point out to the world that "Salt n' Pepper's Here... in Lego Form" as Gearlog does in regard to a pretty nifty salt and pepper set made of LEGO bricks.

Plus you cannot tell the world about a Self-Stirring LEGO Mug (Gizmodo got the words right but forgot that nagging "bricks" as well as the registration mark).

On the other hand, maybe LEGO should just give it up and be happy that their brand name is so well recognized.

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Posted by William Lozito at 10:31 AM

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July 20, 2007

Air Zoom Vick V Brand Name Grounded... Dogs Everywhere Rejoice

chomsky_pushkin_2b.jpg It's no secret that we are big dog lovers, so we were very pleased to see that Nike has suspended (hopefully indefinitely) its Air Zoom Vick V product line after The Falcons Michael Vick was caught operating an illegal dog-fighting ring.

I am amazed, frankly, that the four shoe products and three shirts bearing this person's name will remain in stores.

I simply cannot see the upside for Nike in associating its company name with this idiot, and most of the blogosphere agrees with me... one dog loving blogger has even recreated the Air Zoom Vick V to reflect Vick's cruel habit.

The Humane Society agrees, having called upon Nike to pull its Vick clothing and shoes from retailers and its web site.

gypsy0405.gifYeah, I know all about, "innocent until proven guilty," blah, blah, blah. But if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck!

Zac Bissonette points out that most sports contracts contain some kind of moral turpitude clause; I am sure Nike is smart enough to include something similar in their sponsorship deals.

ChomskyPushkin-100206.gifYes, Nike stands to lose $1.5 million on this after scrapping 30,000 pairs of shoes.

Look at it as an investment in your brand name, Nike.

I'm thinking "recall."

In any event, the event is rather fait accompli: Who on earth would buy anything with Vick's name on it?

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:41 AM

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July 19, 2007

Jon Bon Jovi Wants Mijovi Brand Name Dead, Not Alive

mijovi.gif Jon Bon Jovi is not happy at all about a new energy drink called Mijovi, a name that the drink's creator claims was inspired not by the famous rocker but by his girlfriend, Jovita Saenz.

The company's marketing materials include other words such as "itsmijovi" and "itsmilife" which look like fairly clear references to Bon Jovi's song "It's My Life."

So far the US Trademark office is supporting Mijovi, and while there is a great deal of law out there that protects trademarks that are considered famous, the argument that Bon Jovi sells songs and Mijovi is a drink in the log run will probably not hold, er, water.

People building piggyback brand names from famous stars is a daily headache for product naming experts.

Companies that attempt to trade off of someone else's equity, either a famous person's or famous brand, are low-life parasites.

I am sure that if she decides to pursue it, for instance, Gwen Stefani's suit against retail chain Forever 21, which seems to be marketing and promoting products that are the same as her Harajuku Lovers fashion brand name, will be successful.

Forever 21 has even gone so far as to copy the Harajuku Lovers logo and brand name by changing the word "Harajuku" to "Forever" and the word "Lovers" to "Love."

hype.gif And Evel Knievel is jumping mad at Kanye West for ripping off his image and name in a video that features rapper "Evel Kanyevel" and a reenactment of Knievel's doomed attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon. Ouch.

In any event, energy drink naming is pretty crazy. Witness the advent of "Bloom," the new Del Monte Energy drink for women (one of the very few female orientated names out there, it seems, aside from Tab Energy and Go Girl Energy).

The newer Energy drink names look set to bring the meaning of the word "energy" closer to the word "hyper" (whoops, looks like there's already a drink called "Hype").

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:21 AM

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July 18, 2007

New Product Names for Turning Technologies' Latest Products

As you may be aware, the No Child Left Behind Act requires that students meet certain levels of proficiency. The testing related to this is often referred to as "high stakes" testing.

Turning Technologies, LLC has introduced three new assessment tools to enhance their audience response system which helps students improve their academic performance.

  • TestingPoint™ allows teachers to easily develop, format and administer tests.
  • VantagePoint™, a web-based analytics application for creating different analysis reports or summaries of student performance against state standards and AYP goals, uploads session files from TurningPoint, TestingPoint and paper-based bubble tests.
  • QuestionPoint™, a question bank powered by LearnStar, provides high-quality content questions, which can be uploaded into TurningPoint and TestingPoint.


Strategic Name Development created the TestingPoint, VantagePoint and QuestionPoint product names to be consistent with Turning Technologies' brand architecture and nomenclature. That is, all components of the suite names end in "point," but still emphasize the versatility and flexibility of a program that offers something for everyone.

Turning Technologies is another satisfied client.

    "Strategic Name Development was creative, responsive, and provided us with a broad range of strategically sound name candidates. They are very easy and enjoyable to work with," said Tony DeAscentis, Vice President of Marketing at Turning Technologies.

Thanks to Tony and the entire Turning Technologies team. You were great to work with, very professional and insightful.

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Posted by William Lozito at 10:47 AM

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Legendary Game Boy Brand Name To Be Retired

Some names in the gaming world are legendary.

gameboy.gif One of these, Game Boy, looks set to be retired soon, after years of being one of the most recognizable handheld gaming brand names in the market.

Nintendo seems to have decided to focus on the new Nintendo DS product name not to mention the Wii brand name that I have written about in depth. Nintendo is also focusing on its WiiWare service, which may be coming earlier than expected.

wii_console.gifNintendo has almost rewritten the book on appealing product naming, taking odd sounding names and making them hugely popular.

Making a break from an established trademark like Game Boy has obviously caused much soul searching at Nintendo, who seem to be teaching us that new product naming in the gaming field has to be quirky, memorable and ever changing, ever growing.

This news comes just as Microsoft pledges to clean up its abysmal name branding strategies.

Sources at Microsoft seem to excuse their terrible naming by saying that new product naming is difficult, probably because you need to find congruent web domain names and deal with mazes of legal hassle.

Well, Apple and Nintendo seem to be doing just fine with it, guys.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:26 AM

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July 17, 2007

New Bottled Water Has a Bling Brand Name

blingh2o.gifIs it just me, or do others out there feel that Paris Hilton should be thrown in jail again for giving a bottle of the new luxe bottled water, "Bling H2O," which carries a $35 price tag per bottle, to her dog?

Bling H2O is co-branded with Swarovski, with a product name that says it all.

Bottled water branding is going further than anyone ever would have imagined even a few years ago, with at least one restaurant creating a "sommelier" type position for a water expert who can actually pair bottled water with food (possibly this person would be named a "hydrolier").

The branding of these items is that rarified now... and well it should be, given that we're talking about a $100 billion a year biz.

New high end water brands include 10 thousand BC from, well, BC, as in British Columbia.

I also find it interesting that we have an assortment of names for the kinds of waters that make up these brands. For instance, do you know the difference between artesian water and mineral water? If not, Laura Smith has put together a primer.

polandspring.gifBefore you drop a few bucks on Bling H2O, I must warn you that one blogger comes to us with the news that Poland Spring ($1) is actually better tasting... go figure.

San Francisco spends nearly $500,000 on bottled water yearly despite owning its own pristine reservoir in the Sierra Nevada. This reservoir is said to produce some of the country's best tasting tap water.

In an effort to cut bottled water spending, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom signed a bill banning the use of city money to buy bottled water.

recycle.gif By December 1st, all city departments located on city property must switch from bottled water dispensers to dispensers that attached to taps or water pipes.

On the wave of all this, of course, is the New York City effort to tout its own water, which consistently gets rated as better than bottled competitors.

Bottled water is the largest area of growth among all beverages, selling 15 billion in 2002.

Unfortunately, only about 12 percent of those bottles are being recycled... that's 40 million bottles a day that are being thrown away.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:25 AM

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July 16, 2007

Naming Problems Still Haunt Google

Though apparently poised to take over the world, Google still has problems going global.

First there were problems with Gmail. Then there was China.

google.gifNever mind the censorship controversy; the Chinese couldn't pronounce "Google." So the company rebranded its search engine "Gu Ge," which the Chinese greeted with less than unanimous enthusiasm.

Now Beijing Guge Science and Technology Ltd. is suing Google for trademark infringement. They're tired of having people call them looking for Google, which somehow failed to get itself into the telephone directory under either "Google" or "Gu Ge."

Perhaps Google should take another look at the alternatives proposed in 2006 on, like Gou Gou and Gou Le.

The site has been taken down, but it's probably still in the Google cache somewhere.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:28 AM

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July 14, 2007

New Species Discovered; Naming To Be Decided

red-octosquid.gifThe July 5th Honolulu Star Bulletin reported the discovery of an unidentified sea creature that looks like a cross between a squid and an octopus near Keahole Point on Hawaii's Big Island. First to name the strange cephalopod was Jan War, operations manager at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, where the creature was found trapped in a filter. The name War chose, "octosquid," is a logical portmanteau, but a linguistic mishmash.

orange-octosquid.gif "Octopus" is a Greek name, meaning "eight-foot."

"Squid," on the other hand, is a word of uncertain origin, possibly derived from "squirt." The modern Greek for "squid" is kalamari, which actually means "inkwell" and comes from the ancient Greek for "reed" (which is what the Greeks used for pens). I have to say that "octomari" has a nicer ring than "octosquid," even though it doesn't really mean anything in Greek.

Of course, this is just the popular name we're talking about. The scientific name is something biologists have to determine once they figure out what known species the "octosquid" is most closely related to. There are rules for the creation of new species names from Greek and Latin roots.

For some reason, "squid" is a popular name with technology companies, from Laughing Squid and TurboSquid to Squidoo.

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Posted by William Lozito at 7:24 AM

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July 13, 2007

The Real Famous Amos is a Resilient Brand Name

Uncle-Wallys.gif So whatever happened to Famous Amos? I mean, the real Wally Amos who made the great cookies?

A decade after he lost the catchy brand name 'Famous Amos', he is now selling under the name Uncle Wally's Muffin Co.. He's making 250 million muffins yearly and shooting for a cool billion by 2010.

Not bad for a 71-years young man.

Famous-Amos.gif He originally started the current company as Uncle Noname Cookie Co. after he lost the Famous Amos brand name. And while the Famous Amos brand name is still out there (currently owned by Kellogg's after changing hands four times-Kellogg's claims their Famous Amos cookies are the company's fastest growing cookie brand), the real Amos is challenged to ensure customers know that he is a muffin maker nowadays.

He has even written a book called Man With No Name after a failed attempt to start a cookie company called "Wally Amos Presents Chip'n Cookie."

It's one thing to have your business pulled out from under you (just ask Steve Jobs) but to have the brand name taken away as well, a name that is really yours, well, that's just plain crazy. Of course the former owner is going to do everything he or she can to use it again.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:55 AM

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July 12, 2007

Chip Makers Need a Professional Naming Company

What's the first brand name that comes to mind when you think of computer chips? How about the first product name?

Since all off my readers are using computers to read this, it stands to reason you all must have an idea of what's driving the software you depend on every day, right? Wrong.

According to CNN Money, computer chip makers just can't seem to differentiate their product names from one another.

intel-logo.gif The one name we all seem to know is Intel, who in fact is one of the top five brand names in the world. But because so many chipmakers are essentially emulating Intel's product naming strategy, we wind up with a great deal of confusion on the market.

To quote the article, "AMD is working on a chip code-named Fusion. Taiwan chipmaker Via Technologies has a product called CoreFusion. And Intel's flagship processor line is the Core 2."

Intel doesn't always get it right, of course: Englishman Dave Frank has an interesting blog post about what happened to the little known Cornish town of Penryn when Intel's brand name researchers briefly (and probably inadvertently) borrowed its name.

AMD-logo.gif AMD, for its part, has a new chip coming out code-named Barcelona (why is it that computer code names are often better than the names they wind up with?). And their Phenom product name is pretty good, as I have said before.

At the risk of blowing my own horn, it seems like many chip manufacturers would benefit from the expertise of a professional naming company.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:25 AM

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July 11, 2007

Dell Vostro Brand Name Thankfully Offers Less

dell-notebooks2.gifDell just introducted a new line of computers for the small business (1-25 people) branded Vostro.

Vostro is Italian for "yours," ultimately derived from the Latin vester (sometimes spelled voster).

  • Like many Italian words, it sounds powerful and racy.
  • Italian also has the advantage of being a phonetic language, so it's not hard to guess how to pronounce it.
  • The meaning ties in nicely with the I/we/you/us naming scheme so popular in web services like MySpace and YouTube.
  • And, of course, it's highly appropriate to Dell's build-your-own approach to computer sales.

These are user-friendly, durable, affordable computers that come minus trialware. They already have four notebooks and a couple of towers available.

Hints and ads have been covertly appearing in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. The Direct2Dell blog gives a good overview of the new equipment, which looks to me like any other PC equipment out there.

Dell also has a Small Business 360 site that helps the small business person answer questions.

There really are two things here that stand out immediately.

The first is that it is a little amusing that Dell is selling these with the attraction that it comes without trial programs... this is clearly one of the attractions of the equipment. In other words, the consumer gets less because, frankly, we want less... less bloatware, less junk on the computer that slows it down and is a hassle to remove.

As one wag wrote in to ZD Net's Between the Lines: "Top feature: No features."

dell-towers.gifThe other is that while the new product line is branded as Vostro, Dell's name is all over the equipment. In fact, I was hard pressed to find any Vostro at all on the notebooks or the towers. There does indeed seem to be a separate typography for Vostro on the site (took me ten minutes to find it, mind you), but that's about it.

Maybe Dell is a little bit on the fence about introducing the Vostro brand name or maybe Dell just needs more time to establish the new sub-brand name.

At this point, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein regarding Vostro, "A Dell is a Dell is a Dell is a Dell."

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Posted by William Lozito at 10:25 AM

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July 10, 2007

Perfume and Car Brand Naming: Bulls Good, Horses Maybe, Hummers Never

lamborghini-cologne.gif I'm inspired by the launch of the new Lamborghini cologne to do a quick run down on how perfume naming and exotic car brands go together.

First of all, it seems to be that foreign sports cars--particularly Italian brand names--are the ones that lend themselves best to perfume brand naming.


The Bugatti perfume (limited edition) goes for a cool five grand and comes in a very interesting bottle.

Ferrari has already sewn up the perfume and cologne market, of course, with the intelligently named Donna Ferrari perfume for women. Italian car brands just have such a sex appeal built into them that crossing over into colognes and perfumes seems easy... even the logos seem to work.

American brand names offer a harder challenge. Witness the Mustang Men cologne. It's really hard to get by the fact that if you are a guy slapping this stuff on, you might smell like, well, a horse.

Of course, since Ferrari has a colt on its bottle and Lamborghini has a fighting Miura bull, this should not be a problem, but that name--Mustang--that's a little tough.

The logo of a farm animal is one thing... but actually naming a perfume after one, that's a whole different story; especially since a huge part of the target market is women buying gifts for men.

Hummer-cologne.gif But the hardest perfume brand-naming job by far has to be Hummer. How on earth did Elizabeth Arden sell men a cologne with the name Hummer on it? Aside from the multitude of off-color jokes it will inspire, a Hummer itself is just not sexy. It's a mean machine. Which is why it seems destined to fail in the US.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:50 AM

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July 9, 2007

Boeing's Dreamliner is Wonderfully Soporific Product Naming

Boeing-Dreamliner.gif The news that Boeing has unveiled the new 787 Dreamliner yesterday Sunday, July 8th, has me thinking that this product name is helping Boeing take on rival Airbus, whose competing, mammoth A350 XB has been beset with problems.

There are two reasons why I think Dreamliner is a good name:

  • First of all, this may be the first passenger jet brand name that we all can remember, aside from the 747. The Dreamliner name sets it apart immediately from the instantly forgettable Airbus 350 brand name.
  • Second, the Dreamliner brand name speaks to what every economy class passenger wants more than in-seat entertainment or pretzels: to sleep, perchance to dream (to quote Hamlet).

Ay, there's the rub. A name like Dreamliner gives me, a long haul traveler, pause. It sounds like I can sleep on a Dreamliner.

And I know I can't sleep on a bus... even if it's an Airbus.

Passengers on the Dreamliner will experience less turbulence via the aptly named "smooth-ride technology." They will experience better humidification, bigger bathrooms, bigger bins and bigger windows... as well as bigger seats and aisles. These things induce peaceful sleep.

I think that the whole point of the rivalry between Airbus and Boeing is to wind up in a place where passengers choose an airline because of what type of plane the airline is flying.

Boeing-Dreamliner2.gif Dreamliner is easy to remember and the name promises sweet dreams. I also think we may be seeing the launch of another airplane name that will stick, and companies that can say they fly Dreamliners may be able to reach for the clouds, starting with the Japanese airline, All Nippon Airways, the first to fly the dreamliner.

Good brand naming, Boeing.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:34 AM

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July 7, 2007

AT&T Company Name on Car #31 A Headache for NASCAR

race carA fascinating article on Insider Racing News outlines the case between NASCAR and AT&T that seems to be full of twists and turns.

I believe this type of argument seems to be making NASCAR very confusing, not least because Bud is bowing out off the Busch Series, leaving the door open for Wal-Mart or Coke to step as the top name sponsor.

One interesting point, I feel, is that NASCAR’s 2003 naming of its premier cup the “Nextel Cup” instead of the “Winston Cup” allowed it to finally market to the under-eighteen demographic.

Now a name change will take place once again when the Nextel Cup becomes the and NASCAR execs try to maintain Sprint’s excusive ad rights by preventing AT&T from advertising on car #31, which used to display Cingular’s "bouncy guy" before the company changed its name to AT&T.

It looks as if NASCAR will have to cave in on this matter, allowing AT&T to advertise on Car #31, making Sprint’s hefty payment of $750 million to be the exclusive wireless brand name of choice somewhat questionable.

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Posted by William Lozito at 10:57 AM

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July 6, 2007

Fiat Cinquecento Tears Page From Apple's Brand Naming Playbook

Fiat500I was pleased to see that the Fiat 500 is back and Fiat not only hopes it will not only become the "iPod of cars" but also revive its iconic brand name.

VWBeetleThe 500, known affectionately as the 'Cinquecento' is to Fiat as the Beetle is to Germany or the Mini to Britain. It's that iconic small car that captured the public's imagination two generations ago, the car that many Italian boomers remember with pride.

At 500cc, the thing was practically a go-cart, which was part of its appeal. Many Italians remember their grandparents traveling all the way from northern Italy to Sicily and back with three kids in the Cinquecento.

MiniFiat seem to have emulated Apple's "Think Different" campaign with a Cinema Paradiso twist.

  • The fact that a carmaker comes right out and says that it wants to be "like Apple" is interesting, and the strategy here is deeply Applesque.
  • Fiat is unlikely to make much money off this car, it is simply hoping to bring the well loved brand name back to revitalize the Fiat parent brand and increase interest in its Alfa Romeo and Lancia name plates just like Apple has lured many customers into buying Macs through the sheer coolness of the iPod.

Using one brand name to build another is nothing new in marketing, but this is one of the savviest and biggest applications of the strategy that I have ever seen.

It's a shame that there are no plans to introduce the Cinquecento in the US (it gets 46 mpg and has a top speed of 99 MPH, making it green friendly).

But with a product name this difficult to pronounce (cheenk-weh-chen-toh), perhaps this will remain solely an Italian brand naming coup after all, although Mark Healy seems to think it may be coming to the U.S. "in the next few years."

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:09 AM

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July 5, 2007

Timex Brand Name Getting An Upgrade with the TX

TimexAn article on about the launch of the high-end Timex TX watch brand name heralds a new luxury watch being quietly made by the famous company that is known mostly for making a watch that "takes a licking and keeps on ticking."

TimexWatchThe new brand is the "next chapter" for the Timex group, which is creating a niche for itself that they have named "TechnoLuxury." The watches go for between $375 and $626.

Interestingly, the TX brand name is being disassociated with the trusty old Timex brand name. The TX cannot be found at Timex outlets - they prefer to re-sell through places like Bloomingdale's or Saks - and is being presented to the U.S. market as the TX Watch Co. for "a completely new brand for a new generation of consumers." These are now well-heeled men ages 25-45, as there are no women's models yet.

Here is the mystery YouTube video that Timex claims was not made by them.

I like the TX message, since it's in the genre of text messages and TX brand is being targeted to a younger audience. And it obliquely refers to an original Timex brand.

I was also interested to learn that the Timex Group is a private, Norwegian-owned company. I had always thought the Timex brand name and company name were uniquely American, as did the Watch Report, who recently profiled the TX. At least the TX headquarters is still in Connecticut.

VersaceTimex also has acquired the Versace SA, Salvatore Ferragamo SpA and Vincent Brard SA luxury watch brand names.

This essentially means that Timex wears many faces, analog and digital, and a stable of brand names to appeal to different consumer demographics.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:53 AM

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July 4, 2007

Why "The Fourth of July?"

Happy Independence Day!

FlagYet while "Independence Day" is a very good name for a holiday celebrating the separation of one country from another, most Americans refer to this holiday by its date, as "The Fourth of July"-or, indeed, "The Glorious Fourth," though the latter has fallen out of common usage.

Not only don't we do this with other holidays, but the most common way to refer to a date in American English is to say ;June first" or "December 25th," with the month first and the day second. This reflects the fact that only Americans write their dates in month/day/year order.

European countries, notably including The United Kingdom, use day/month/year, writing the date in ascending order of unit size. This is known as "little endianness." "Big endianness" involves writing the date with the year first and the day (or time, if included) last, and now forms the ISO 8601 standard used by computers and an increasing (albeit still small) number of nations.

So why "The Fourth of July," which actually reflects the British way of writing dates? My feeling is that, like much Britishism, it sounds more formal and thus helps to indicate that the day is special. It's the kind of phrasing you see on wedding invitations.

Nevertheless, there are and always have been people who say "July Fourth" instead of "The Fourth of July"-just not as many of them. Google returns 11,000,000 hits on a search for "Fourth of July" and only 826,000 for "July Fourth."

But whatever order you choose to say it in, we hope you enjoy the national holiday today!

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:11 AM

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July 3, 2007

Fireworks Brand Names

FireworksI've never attended a public fireworks display where the pyrotechnics expert announced the brand name of each explosive before setting it off. In many states of the U.S., the sale of fireworks to consumers is prohibited, so it's no surprise that fireworks brand names are not household names.

In honor of the just-passed Canada Day celebrations and the upcoming Independence Day celebrations, however, it seemed like a good idea to take a look at them.

Fireworks1I might have expected fireworks companies to have names like "Big Bang" or "Pyrotechnica," but some of the names are actually more interesting and fanciful than that:

Animal-inspired brand names are the most common. This may have something to do with the Chinese origin of fireworks and their continuing popularity in Asia.

Few animals in their right minds, however, would stick around during a fireworks display, but "Viper" and "Great Grizzly" do sound more intriguing than "Loud" and "Louder."

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Posted by William Lozito at 7:54 AM

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July 2, 2007

Verbal Branding vs. Visual Branding?

The premise of this headline is really silly, I admit.

LondonNewYorkBoth verbal branding and visual branding work hand in hand to create an image and interest in a product or service.

There is an interesting article in today's Chicago Tribune on Olympic logos. The article does a wonderful job of putting a number of Olympic logos in one place.

My reaction to all the logos is that they are different but yet very similar. It seems like all the Olympic logos are within the same color palette.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:33 AM

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