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September 29, 2008

How Much Does Gender Affect Naming?

Genderizing brand naming is a tricky business.

re-gifters.jpgSome brand names that are meant to appeal to women seem to fail despite the "can't miss" odds. One example is DC's Minx line of graphic novels (including Re-Gifters, pictured right), while some feminine sounding brand names aimed at men, like Claiborne, seem to do quite well.

L'eggs panty hose is a great brand name for women and Marlboro is a masculine brand name cigarette that appeals to men, but also had plenty of crossover appeal to females.

Things get even trickier with fragrances. Men seem content embracing both masculine and feminine brand names when it comes to colognes, such as Ralph Lauren's macho sounding "Safari" name, as well as more unisex names like "Chic."

And then there is Chanel's "Pour Monsieur," which received a great review in a recent article in The Independent. Most would assume that taking one of the most feminine names out there and tacking "Pour Monsieur" to it to attract men wouldn't work, but in this case, it most certainly did.

On the other hand, cigarette makers have discovered that women appear to prefer the taste of feminine sounding brand name cigarettes to those with more masculine names, even when the test groups taste the exact same product. If this were not the case, Camel would not likely offer us the sexy sounding "No. 9" brand cigarette.

miata-mx-5-3.pngNot surprisingly, consumers seem just as willing to apply genderized naming to cars. More feminine sounding names seem to attract women, while hard, masculine names appeal more to men. For example, take a look at the top ten cars for women, which all have polite, demure names like Miata (pictured above), Sentra, Fit and Civic.

That said, women also seem to be turned on by the sound of high performance cars that have wonderful, lyrical, and dare I say it, feminine sounding names like Maserati, Lamborghini and Ferrari. This was actually uncoverd by some research sponsored by a company called "Hiscox." No joke.

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Posted by William Lozito at September 29, 2008 11:02 AM
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