Walgreens has a new store brand! And it's called "Nice!". They tell us that "The new brand will include more than 400 high quality grocery and household products at prices up to 30 percent below other national brands."
This means that this is the launch of a juggernaut. Expect to see the brand in early 2012. The company has big plans here, telling us the packaging is "easily recognizable" and "Nice!" products will push out current in store brands like Cafe W and Deerfield Farms.
This is a good move. Walgreens notes that AC Nielsen has seen store brands go from $64.9 billion in sales in 2005 to $88.5 billion in 2010.
Store brands, as anyone who reads this blog knows, are an interest of mine. Everyone from Walmart to 7-Eleven has them and they are now a sophisticated, mature part of the branding world.
Said one exec connected to the brand: "Of all the names (we considered), this was different, catchy and the exclamation point added an emphasis...you can play with the word nice.'' But many bloggers point out this is a risky move, despite Walgreen's claims that this could be a billion dollar brand name. Sure, launching a new brand is difficult, but sample products have already sold briskly.
But what I want to talk about is that exclamation mark! Do you see how an exclamation mark gets overused it gets to be annoying?! Imagine a store filled with products branded with exclamation marks! Might that not start to get kind of annoying?! An exclamation mark on a brand name adds "energy" but it can also be a mixed blessing. It works well on "Chips Ahoy!" cookies, but the point is that most of us would not know offhand if the exclamation mark was there if asked to guess.
Duets Blog has a whole list of exclamation mark brand names... and some include question marks, light bulbs and even an exclamation mark within a wolf head design interwoven with a serpent. The interesting thing here is that the USPTO does not see adding an exclamation point as enough of a move to avoid "mere descriptiveness" (America's Favorite Popcorn!).
So, the word "nice" is the ultimate descriptive word. The exclamation mark's design probably helps. But I'm fascinated because "nice" is such a vanilla term. Who wants to be known as a "nice guy" - since "nice guys finish last?"
Surely the addition of the exclamation point moves us from the traditional understanding of "nice" to the common use of "nice" as an exclamation of pleasure. Here we move from "It's a nice day outside" to "Free donuts in the cafeteria today? Nice!" In this case, it seems like the brand name's punctuation works... but this usage is very much of the minute. Will it last?