Automotive: August 2006 Archives

Links Du Jour 8-29-06

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RIM LogoRIM could learn from Apple - I recently the dispute between Creative and Apple that led to Apple’s payout of $100 million to Creative for patent and trademark infringements.

The Blackberry Cool blog led me to a great article on TheStreet.com that explains exactly why that $100 million was worth every penny: it saves Apple from a messy fight that could hurt their brand name - and leaves the door open for future licensing agreements between the two companies.

Companies can quite easily come to that can help them avoid mutual destruction.

Infiniti LogoNot Much to "Experience" at Infiniti.com - I’m a big fan of Kelly Mooney and loved her book The Ten Demandments, as well as its very catchy title. So I read with interest her rant against Infiniti for putting out such a lame site to sell a high end product. Web sites are the means through which customers get beyond the brand name. If the site is slow loading or filled with boring copy, it does not offer customers much of a positive experience.

Coincidentally, Guy Kawasaki , saying that the people who are most likely to spread your company name or brand via word of mouth are the new customers like Ms. Mooney, who are already jazzed up about their new product and want to spread the word. In this case, Infiniti lost out.

BW podcast on personal brand-building ignores blogs - and podcasts - Stephen Baker of BusinessWeek points us to an interesting podcast on building your personal brand identity. It’s a great way to spend 18 minutes, but seems to ignore blogging – and podcasting - as personal branding activities.

It’s a good blog to read in conjunction with on the tradeoffs between building a flashy brand that sells off the shelf and one that goes the distance.

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Links du Jour 08-27-06

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VW RabbitVW Aims at Nostalgia Niche - And so does GM. The , Scirocco, Camaro, and Dodge Challenger are all coming back. These are great car names from the past that deserve a second life. I must say I like the new implementation of the Rabbit logo, and agree with Third Way: the Rabbit brand name still has more cache than Golf. Go figure.

fruit-guys.jpgFruity Goodness - Here’s a blast from the past with a very interesting update: the guys are back, online, on a that allows you to download Fruit of the Loom songs like You Can’t Overlove your Underwear. What can I say? These are brand icons that have a very long shelf life and have built a strong brand name. Catchy tune, too.

digg20logo.jpgDigg sends C&D to DiggGames? - This is an interesting post because it speaks to the strategy behind protecting a trademark name. If you want to legally do so, you have to be perceived by the court as aggressively taking action to protect your trademark from use by both competitors and even by fans who want to set up complementary web sites using your brand name. did not take steps like these until it was too late, and does not want to make the same mistake in protecting its mark.

Making Promises. Meeting Expectations. - Nice post and link for those of us in the brand naming business who might need a jump start in the creative process, whether thinking up a company name, slogan, logo or pretty much anything else.

secret.jpgShare Your Secret - I have to agree with Holly Buchanan: the for Secret Deodorant is making women look like tattletales or worse. Her post is mild compared to the one on , which slams the campaign for being aimed at “vapid, narcissistic soccer moms.” Ouch! The “Secret” in the “Secret” product name should be presented as something more interesting than a recipe for pecan pie, but I am not sure if the site should go the way of yet — a little too intense for me, but point taken.

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Brand Naming: Is Kia's New Cee'd Relinquishing Control?

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Kia See'dKia is correct that “cee’d” is an unconventional and innovative . The lower-case “c” and the apostrophe make it seem more like a Web 2.0 company name.

The first half of the name, CE, is meant to represent the European Community, while the ED stands for “European Design.” That makes the name an acronym, and if the car were a government agency, the name would be spelled in all upper-case, rather than all lower-case, letters. (When government agencies start to have trendy, alternate-spelling names, we should worry.)

By the way, the abbreviation CE, or EC, has been replaced by EU, or UE, depending on one's language. That aside, only 6 of 25 member states (France, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Italy, Poland) would reverse the acronym order. I think Kia would be better off referring to "cee'd" as an alternative form of "seed". The other explanations for the name feel like marketing hyperbole.

The apostrophe in “cee’d” is superfluous, as it is not replacing a missing letter. (Even Web 2.0 companies normally use apostrophes in the traditional manner, though the same can’t be said of in brand names.

It would be more logical to insert it in the middle of the word, which would indicate a distinction between where the car is manufactured and where it was designed. Put the apostrophe at the front of the word, and it could indicate that the name is short for “exceed.”

The apostrophe is not the real problem, however. In choosing this new brand name, Kia had in mind the word “seed,” with all the appropriate indications of growth. But “cee’d” runs afoul of : “cede,” meaning “to relinquish control; to yield.”

I think that’s the last thing any competitive company wants to do, and the last thing most drivers want to do when they’re on the road.

Check out the post about the Kia Cee'd at for some more insights and some great reader comments on the name. David Leggett, at , shares our concerns over the redundant apostrophe.

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BMW: The Ultimate Slogan Error is Not!

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BMW logoI have to admit that when I first read about changing their slogan from the famous “Ultimate Driving Machine” to “A Company of Ideas” I said to myself “unbelievable.”

Well according to the Kicking Tires blog, Advertising Age was misinformed when reporting about the BMW slogan change. Great.

But part of me says that it is equally plausible that the new BMW marketing team and agency backed off the change or senior management wisely decided against it.

In any event, congratulations BMW for retaining the “Ultimate Driving Machine” slogan.

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