Automotive: August 2008 Archives

Ghost Brand Naming Haunts Hard Times

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I'm haunted by ghost brand names that often tend to reappear during economic downturns, or so says the New York Times.

The cost of introducing new brand names into the market can be even more frightening than resurrecting the dead, and this has meant that some brands are walking among us that we once believed to be buried.

eaglesnacks.pngEagle Snacks is one example. Surprisingly, 6 out of 10 adults remember the brand. It would cost between $300 and $500 million to get those types of numbers with a new snacks brand, so welcome back, Eagle Snacks.

But there also tends to be a new twist on the beloved brand names that keep resurfacing. Eagle Snacks has added brand extensions named Bursts and Poppers, while the Alka-Seltzer brand has been revived with its own extension called Wake-Up Call.

Even credit card branding has ghost brands that seem to come back as sub-brands or are kept alive, marketed to select groups.

Old car brands might be floating over to Europe and Asia, specifically Oldsmobile, Le Sabre, Park Avenue and Century.

In addition, Miller is reviving its "Great Taste, Less Filling" ads.

6a00e39822b72d883300e553eb0bc48833-320wi.jpgBut the real brand naming comeback of the year is Hydrox cookies, which is a brand that simply will not die thanks to avid consumer activism.

This means thousands of phone calls, petitions and, of course, an online campaign that was started by one loyal cookie fan. Other bloggers have even asked Kellogg's to start a Hydrox-Oreo taste test.

More and more brand naming is getting into the hands of people who just will not let a good brand RIP.

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Pontiac G8 ST Naming Trumps El Camino, Truck Norris

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pontiac-g8-st-1280-009.pngPontiac has decided to name its new sport truck the G8 ST despite a concerted movement by fans to resurrect the El Camino name as part of Pontiac's Tame the Name contest.

There have been irritated grumblings in the blogosphere about the fact that Pontiac actually started with this name, and after 80,000 entries and 18,000 distinct names were submitted, decided to stick with it.

GM claims it "thought long and hard about El Camino," but also noticed a trend in the submissions towards simpler names.

The G8 ST is certainly not the worst names out there, but it does end a big naming contest with a whimper. (The prize was given at random to one of the entrants).

I think that there are a few things that we can take away here.

First of all, truck naming is very difficult. 18,000 names are actually not that many, considering that many of them (like Truck Norris, for example) would be unusable in addition to the thousands of others that would already be taken.

79ElCamino.pngSecondly, taking a name like El Camino out of mothballs might work from a nostalgic point of view but not from a sales perspective. Times have simply changed since the days of the Diablo, the Caballero and other Spanish inspired names.

Fact is, alphanumeric vehicle naming is here to stay, even if people think that the Pontiac G8 ST GXP sounds like "alphabet soup."

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Classic Car Naming and Branding for Sale

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packard3.pngThe legendary Packard name is coming up for sale along with a nifty new prototype. Total cost will be $1.5 million including the ten-year-old car, which looks like "an unholy cross between a Jaguar S and a Morgan Aero 8."

The company did not depart gracefully in 1958 and the car is not what one might describe as beautiful. So, it is possible that a better option would be purchasing the Duesenberg brand name, which comes with plans for some nifty looking cars as well as the Estate golf cart, all of which would give you some Jay Gatsby, "roaring twenties" street cred.

It is interesting to note that the expression "it's a doozy" is based upon the Duesenberg brand name, but it seems that the intervening decades since Duesneberg's collapse in 1929 has made this expression rather negative; one only hears "it's a doozy" when talking about some horrible mistake.

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