Automotive: May 2006 Archives

Links Du Jour 05-29-06

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  • Planter's Mixed Up Nuts - I have to agree with the guys at Third Way: the new Planters mixes are probably not doing the core brand name much good. The problem you have from a brand name research perspective is that peanuts just can't get no respect, and by trying to sell the Planter's peanuts brand by extolling the virtues of the cashews and pistachios (one tagline is “50% pistachios, 100% love”) that Mr. Peanut is now fraternizing with, they're creating an Arthur Miller/Marilyn Monroe set up.
  • Ford's War Room Not a Substitute For Judgment - I agree with David Kiley that there's a fine line between “creative intensity” when it comes to building a brand name, and just plain “weirdness”. Ford is getting ready to protect its valuable F-series pick up truck line from Toyota and GM but letting things get a little crazy in the brand name research department, where employees have to live the brand a little too much.
  • Snapple Takes Over FM Radio - Snapple is taking over a Boston radio station from Memorial Day to July 4, offering the company a very cool means of getting its brand name out 24/7. I think radio is still a great place for people in the product naming business, and this kind of thing is just another way in which a brand name can gain blanket coverage.

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Links Du Jour 05-22-06

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  • - Product placement in TV shows and movies is here to stay and a great way of building authenticity into your brand naming. I agree with David Kiley: if the client wants you to write a script with an Oreo cookie in it, so what?
  • - What can I say? This is EXPLOSIVE brand naming. Maybe a little too warlike for these times, but then again these guys now have to compete against Hulk Hogan, as I noted on May 11th in my post about the .
  • - We covered the fictional but promoted in real life Hanso Foundation name from Lost in an . Now, real life Jeep has embedded its name in Hanso branding material, and created a fake history around the relationship. This has, of course, done two things: brought the Jeep brand name to the attention of legions of Lost fans and set a new standard for brand name research: this time, the consumer does the legwork.

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Links Du Jour 05-15-06

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  • - Mike Wagner talks about the brand strategy his mother created...that should be pretty familiar to all of us. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there.
  • - Pontiac asks viewers of its commercials to "" rather than go to . Google is getting to play a large part in some companies' brand naming strategies...
  • - Leave it to the Boing Boing blog to showcase authentic grocery lists. Here's a real tool for brand name research: go through these scribbled lists and see how many times your product name is mentioned!

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Product Naming: The Trademarking Hurdle

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ChapstickDid you know that the US Trademark office rejected a product name called Lotsa Suds? Or that well known brand names such as Tender Vittles, Chap Stick and Bufferin are actually very difficult trademarks to defend in court?

Trademark issues are becoming more and more complex and can bedevil a product name or brand name and a major part of what a naming company deals with on a daily basis. A recent article, , by Mark C. Jacobs, reminds us that a trademark is not a Service Mark and that trademarks are always “adjectives and not nouns". Jacobs means that there is no such thing as a "Buick" in the world of trademarks, but there is only a "Buick car".

I think that people who are not naming consultants may not be aware of a few other interesting things: it’s very hard to trademark a person’s last name and almost impossible to trademark a geographic name for a product or service that does not come from that place.

The fact is, if a trademark registration application is rejected, it is an incredible headache for the applicant. I believe that navigating these rough waters is part of the job of any good naming company that knows how to do the proper brand name research necessary to avoid trademark hassles.

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JeepDaimler Chrysler says that the famous trucks directly descended from the jeeps of World War II will finally be known as Wranglers in Canada - as they are in over 100 other markets. I’m glad.

It seems that General Motors had the use of the name in Canada for the occasional pick-up truck, forcing Canadian Wranglers to be known as “TJs” (after their internal body designations) but the two companies have come to an “amicable” arrangement that sees GM giving the famous brand name to Daimler Chrysler. This will reduce marketing costs for the company and on the vehicles where it rightfully belongs.

I know that the name Wrangler, of course, is used by many companies, including brands of Hormel hotdogs, as well as the well-known Wrangler jeans brand and the less well-known Wrangler baseball team in the US.

It’s a pretty macho name that clearly defines its target market - is something I have written about before and its equity is entrenched so deep in 4x4 culture that its hard to see it disappearing anytime soon.

And what a relief it must be for Jeep Canada to not have to try to sell 4x4s called “TJs” anymore! My only question: Guys, what were you thinking?

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