the product naming blog

February 17, 2012

Meaning of Blood Diamond Naming About to Change? Or does the De Beers Forevermark Help?

forevermark.jpegI read with interest an article by CNN stating that "blood diamond," a name with heavy baggage, is about to change its definition.

Most people know the name from the title of the Leonardo DiCaprio movie, but it is actually a real term that means a great deal to the diamond industry.

A "blood diamond," is one that comes from a rebel group who has used its diamond sales as a means of overthrowing a legitimate government, or to fund human rights abuses, mainly against women and children.

And it looks like the Kimberly Process, which was launched in 2003 to certify that diamonds sold on the world market do not come from dicey sources, is looking at broadening the definition of a blood diamond.

New chair of the Kimberley Process, Gillian Milovanovic stated "One of the things which will certainly be looked at and which we certainly support looking at and believe should get a close look is whether that definition is still sufficiently encompassing or appropriate given today's challenges."

The spectre of "blood diamonds" has hung over the entire diamond industry, leading the largest diamond producer, De Beers, to create the "Forevermark" that guarantees the diamond comes from a legitimate source.

Luxury brands seem to be doing incredibly well. There is a rising global demand for diamonds as the precious stones are being snapped up by investors, and the wealthy, especially in the developing regions of China, India and the Middle East, who are flocking to jewelry stores to buy the diamonds as a physical asset in these uncertain times.

But if the diamond industry does not start regulating itself better, consumers of luxury products may start being put off by the magic rocks.

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October 25, 2011

"Occupy Wall St." and "We Are the 99%" To Be Trademarked As A Brand Name?

Occupy Wall St Shirt.pngIt had to happen sometime. Somebody has decided to try to trademark the phrase "Occupy Wall Street."

Robert Maresca, an injured Long Island ironworker, has applied for the trademark while a Brooklyn man named Ian McLaughlin has applied for the "We Are the 99%" trademark.

McLaughlin hopes to create bumper stickers, tote bags, hats and so forth using the slogan, while Maresca has been making T-shirts with the "Occupy Wall Street" slogan.

Both men claim that they are not trying to make a buck off of the social movement, particularly Maresca, who claims he's just trying to protect his interests. He and his wife have learned that a trademark is "something of a gamble."


The press finds this amusing, with one writer suggesting that the Marescas would like to join the 1%.

Another blogger suggested they make a "hobo bag" as well as other items that include an "Occupy Condom." Says another blogger, "While it's not categorically a horrible idea - the idea of trademarking something and profiting off the merchandise - this is sort of a horrible idea, right? Unless bankers buy the merchandise out of irony?"

Many good movements have been trademarked. Think Woodstock. Or, think about the way Nelson Mandela has become a brand as well.

But I doubt either of these men are going to take full advantage of the possibilities of trademarking the brand name.

If these two men decide to become squatters on the name, holding the mark to prevent it from being used in documentaries or in a serious franchising effort in order to get top dollar, then I would have to agree that this is a pretty paltry effort to make money from a movement that is critical of shortsighted greed.

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May 5, 2010

Naming and Branding Low Point of 2010: The Better Marriage Blanket

Today I bring you the year's top contender for most ridiculous product name. Ladies and gentleman, behold the "Better Marriage Blanket."

How does this blanket improve your marriage, you ask? By absorbing the foul smell of flatulence, oh, and the "toxic fumes from mattresses and box springs," which has at least one blogger saying "Seriously?"
I wish I was joking. I am not.

This is a really imaginative nadir in marketing. The idea is that passing gas in the bed can cause divorce so you should buy this thing with it's military grade fabric that comes to us from the technology used to protect soldiers from poison gas.

Fact is, the company can hardly keep up with demand, according to Bnet.

They note that "The phenomenon says something profound about the psyche of the American consumer," but they're just not sure wha that profound thing is.

It is also suggested that you do not give this as a marriage gift, but notes that the word "marriage" occurs six times in the (ridiculous) ad.

Walletpop is loving this, wondering if the twin and king sizes of the blanket refers to the size of the blanket or the size of the problem. The site also offers some alternative naming ideas: "You've Gone Too Fart" and "Bubble Wrap."

Geekolgie says this is, "Officially signaling the end of mankind."

I wouldn't go that far, but it's definitely a turn for the worse.

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October 27, 2009

Is Baby Einstein Brand Naming Misleading?

Yesterday Brandweek noted that watchdog groups are calling for Disney to change the name of its beleaguered Baby Einstein products after news broke that these products probably do not make your baby smarter.

baby_einstein_logo.jpgIn fact, one study suggested that these actually make Junior a bit dumber.

This all follows a New York Times piece entitled "No Einstein in Your Crib? Get a Refund," which outlines the refund Disney is now offering to disillusioned parents who bought Baby Einstein videos between June 5, 2004 and Sept. 5, 2009. That might be quite a financial blow: it seems that a third of all babies in America between 6 months and 2 years old have one of these videos, which also include Baby Mozart, Baby Shakespeare and Baby Galileo.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is demanding a name change, saying:

Disney should change the name of Baby Einstein because it still has a strong implication that it makes your child or baby smarter. They should change it to a name that does not imply that it could improve a child's cognitive capacity or that it is any way educational for children under the age of two.


The Wall Street Journal has put up a great blog about this and asked readers what they think about very young children watching "educational" videos (whether or not a video for toddlers can be termed educational at all is now a debatable concept).

baby-galileo.jpgOne reader defended the series, saying that his son "learned things from them, especially when he was able to talk and say the colors and shapes. He would even do sign language along with one of the sign language ones."

Another leads us to the Baby Einstein site, which points out that this is a consumer satisfaction issue and nothing more and says that implications that the company is admitting that they ever suggested their products were educational are simply misleading.

I applaud Disney for offering the refund, but must wonder if the product naming doesn't at least suggest that it will make your child smarter. Parents I know who have bought baby Einstein products did so under the belief that these were designed to help their children's cognitive development.

Still, as one marketing executive points out in Brandweek, "I don't think Baby Einstein should change its name. It's a great name and gets to the heart of the concept in the brand."

What do you think?

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October 20, 2009

Droid Phone Naming: An Irresistible Force for iPhone Owners

Motorola-Droid-01.gifSo Internet geeks around the world are rejoicing over the forthcoming "Droid" smartphone war, or to quote the NY Post, who in turn quoted Yoda, "Begun, the droid wars have."

Verizon, Motorola and Google have licensed the product name from George Lucas and verizon-droid.gifon Sunday the new TV spot came out, which looks like a teaser for a movie. The ad, entitled iDon't, lists all the things the iPhone, er, doesn't do. They even have a web site called

According to Beta News:

While the ad harkens back to the 16-bit era of video gaming when Sega ran a campaign with a nearly identical tag line ("Genesis Does what Nintendon't"), it is one of the most direct advertising attacks a Fortune 500 company has made on Apple, which has itself been directly attacking Microsoft Windows in its advertisements for many years.

The reviews on this thing have been very positive, but of course I am interested in the naming.

starwars-r2d2-c3po.gifEveryone who has watched Star Wars knows what a "droid" is - an intelligent robot. Anyone who has not will probably think it has something to do with the Android system behind it. I have written before about the (somewhat sinister) Android name, of course, but this is different, because these guys really are aiming at iPhone customers.

And if you want to entice customers away from Apple, naming a phone after a Star Wars character is almost unfair because, let's face it, Apple people are Star Wars people. The temptation to dump an iPhone to own your own droid will really be hard to resist on the part of most Apple folks.

Just watch. Every single male iPhone owner under the age of fifty will feel the Force call him.

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