the product naming blog

May 16, 2012

Fifth and Pacific Company Naming for Liz Claiborne Now Official

FifthandPacific.jpgIt's now official - Liz Claiborne Inc. will now be named Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc.

Their focus will be on the brands Juicy Coutre, Lucky Brand and kate spade, thus officially saying "goodbye to the iconic Liz Claiborne name."

The company name change news has been public since January when the Liz Claiborne name was sold to JC Penney Co..

This strategic move was made to accommodate their three lifestyle brands, and the name change took official effect yesterday.

The company name itself is an obvious reference to both California and New York, making the name far more inclusive than the Liz Claiborne name.

In a recent video about the name change, CEO Bill McComb points out that that the new name "telegraphs who we are" to both American and, importantly, European and Asian consumers.

McComb also pointed out that "we wanted a name that came out of the consumer vernacular, not one that sounded like a re-coined or invented word."

The name had to encompass the three flagship brands as "Juicy was built bicoastally, Lucky was always an LA brand, and kate spade is a quintessentially New York brand." More than that, they "didn't want it to sound like a hedge fund, a Silicon Valley high-tech company or a law firm."

He points out that there is a great deal riding on the name, as "our focus is on growing domestically and tapping the shores of Asia and Europe in a big way. This name change doesn't impact those moves because we've already been making them, but Fifth & Pacific sounds and feels like a lifestyle company, which is what we are."

I like the thinking behind this name.

The move towards being a "lifestyle brand" explains why the Liz Claiborne name had to go. So, it's adieu to Liz Claiborne and hello Fifth & Pacific.

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April 11, 2012

Tim Tebow Brand Name Gets Too Much Love From Reebok

Tim Tebow.pngIt's interesting that the American Marketing Association just released a study called "Brand Love" which looks at brand related elements such as "emotional attachment, linkages to self identity and several other elements."

Getting people to love your brand - rather than simply gain mere brand liking - seems to be the golden chalice, especially for apparel companies such as Nike and Reebok, who often use sports figures to amp up their resonance with consumers.

According to an ESPN poll, Tim Tebow was named the most popular pro athlete this year.

Tebow, a Christian, who recently gave an outdoor service in Texas to 15,000 people, has drawn such a following that one pastor commented, "In Christianity, it's the Pope and Tebow right now."

Talk about brand love.

But sometimes, love can hurt. As seen in the dispute had between Nike and Reebok over Tim Tebow apparel.


The dispute happened just before Nike took over the licensing rights for NFL apparel.

Reebok was attempting to make every last second count by emblazing Tebow's name and number on blank Jets jerseys. It was the creation of the brand-new merchandise that led a judge to block Reebok from selling 6,000 Tebow-Jets jerseys and 25,000 T-shirts that the company hastily stamped out.

Reebok will recall the new Jets apparel and has also agreed to not "manufacture, market, donate or advertise such merchandise."

Tebow's jersey for the Broncos was the second highest-selling jersey on the NFL website last season. Yet, surprisingly, there has yet to be an equally impressive surge in demand for Jets apparel as previously anticipated.

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March 14, 2012

Nike Forced to Apologize for Black and Tan Product Name

blackandtan.pngNike seems to be in hot water over their new "beer themed" shoe named the 'Black and Tan.'

This name was inspired by the color that comes from mixing stout (Guinness) and lager (Harp) - just in time for St. Patrick's Day.

The company wanted to celebrate these two Irish drinks but forgot to check its history. Or, you know, Google.

If they did, they would have found that The Black and Tans were the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force who cracked down on Irish citizens during the War for Independence.

Somebody forgot to tell Nike that Americans may drink Black and Tans, but Irish people not so much.

One blogger fumed:

Like much of what Americans believe to be traditional Irish stuff, it turns out the Black and Tan is not a popular drink in Ireland. Rather, it's the name of a paramilitary organization that committed atrocities against Irish civilians during the Irish War of Independence in the early 1920s. So steeped in infamy is the term that "Black and Tan" is a derogatory term for an Englishman in Ireland to this day.

This group is still despised by many Irish people. One leading Irish American said, "Nike was doing the equivalent of calling a shoe 'the Al Qaeda.'"

Nike made a statement saying "It has been unofficially named by some using the phrase and we recognize it can be viewed as inappropriate and insensitive. We apologize and no offense was intended."

Incredibly, Ben and Jerry's made the same mistake six years ago when it launched an ice cream with the same name. It was forced to take back the product and issued an apology stating, "Any reference on our part to the British army unit was absolutely unintentional and no ill-will was ever intended. Ben and Jerry's was built on the philosophies of peace and love."

Nice move, Nike.

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March 7, 2012

iPad Product Naming Dilemma Almost Diverts Me From Awarding Dumbest Naming Award of 2012

iPadHD.jpegAs we all await the announcement from Apple (10am PST at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts in San Francisco) regarding what the name of the new iPad will be, the blogosphere seem to have all but decided that the new iPad will be called the iPad HD.

However, there is a new holdout who thinks we might simply name it the iPad and "call it a day" but this is highly unlikely.

Because the announcement in California happens at midday, we might as well look to other naming news... but carefully suggest that iPad HD might actually be the name for the new iPad incarnation.

Yes, some ridiculous clothing company has decided to name a store after a killer.

Never mind that the spellings of the two names are slightly different.

Thor Steinar, a brand favored by neo-Nazis, has opened a clothing store in Eastern Germany with the name "Brevik," the name is only one letter off from the far-right terrorist that killed 77 people in Norway last year.

One moderate German website says, "German daily Die Welt reported that complaints are flooding in from residents and politicians about the shop in the town Chemnitz, outraged at what appears to be a deliberate act of provocation by a brand commonly associated with the far-right scene."

MadhousePantsLabel.jpegOf course, offensive naming and branding seems to be almost unworthy of comment.

This week, for instance, we find that the pants label found at England discount store Madhouse, is pathetically sexist, suggesting to its chino owners that they either follow washing instructions or "Give It to Your Woman, It's Her Job."

Insert guffaw here.

So I for one am waiting for Apple's announcement with great eagerness. It will be quite a positive diversion from brand naming in Europe.

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February 13, 2012

Falling in Love With Product Names

AppleLove.pngThe word "love" has a special place in the heart of advertisers. It signifies both recognition and a strong emotional attachment, as well as brand loyalty.

And some brand names are feeling some serious love as Valentine's Day approaches.

In fact, one group conducted a survey asking the consumer "What brand do you love most" and "Why?" The list includes popular brands consumers easily recognize due to their immediate appeal such as Apple, Sony, and Coke.

At the beginning of the month another group generated a "brand love" index score, with Apple once again on top, followed by Porsche, BMW and Ferrari. Note how they are aspirational brands.

Ad Age is quick to remind us that "Love just isn't enough anymore. In brand relationships, good customer service, high customer satisfaction and even professed brand loyalty won't keep consumers from ditching a product for the competition. In fact, more than half of U.S. consumers did so last year."

Why? Because a whopping 44% of consumers surveyed say they expect more from their brands this year and are willing to switch if there is no delivery.

So, loving a brand and being faithful to it are two very different things.

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