the product naming blog

May 31, 2012

Five Wives Product Naming Too Much for Idaho, But OK in Utah

FiveWives.jpgSo "Five Wives" vodka has been banned in Idaho as being offensive to both Mormons and women, although the product is made in Utah, home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The label depicts five women in 19th century garb holding kittens in what may (if you squint and sort of tilt your head) be suggestive poses.

The Idaho State Liquor executive says sniffily "Products that we feel are marketed toward children, or are in poor taste with respect to our citizens will not be authorized for distribution."

Okay, but if the name and imagery is fine in Utah where Mormons comprise 62% of the population, why is it offensive to the state of Idaho where Mormons make up just 23% of the population and where right this moment Idahoians are buying "Free the Five Wives" t-shirts?

In addition to the sale of Five Wives, a brew named Polygamy Porter is made and consumed in Utah, and interestingly, Polygamy Porter is sold in Idaho.

An Idaho State Liquor executive sheds more light on this mystery saying that the vodka product space is crowded and, "There was nothing that really differentiated [Five Wives] other than its name and its label that had five women with cats in their crotches covering their genitals. We make decisions all the time in what we can fit into our stores."

But is differentiation really necessary? And what other vodkas offer similar labels?

Plus, the name, according to its creator in Utah, has nothing to do with polygamy: "The person who came up with the name, she really liked the idea of five wives sitting around having a drink. There really is no pointed meaning to it and everyone can bring what they want to it... it's not about making fun of Mormons at all. Quite simply it's a name that seemed to fit."

To make matters more interesting, the five wives on the label aren't even wives!

According to ABC News "They were sisters: the Barrison Sisters, a vaudeville troupe of dancers whose appeal was that they titilated by asking if audiences would like to see their female organs. They then would lift their skirts, revealing pussycats."

The head of marketing at Ogden's Own Distillery, maker of Five Wives, had this to say when he was told of the photo's history, "To us it's just an image. We love the fact that there was a mystery to where it came from. And so what? They're cats."

Have to agree with that.

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December 2, 2011

Hanson MMMhop Beer Brand Name Has Been Brewing Since 1997

HansonMMMBop.pngRemember the boy band Hanson? Remember their 1997 hit "MMMBop?" Sure you do!

It was the song that Rolling Stone rated as one of the very worst of the 90's.

Well, get this. To add insult to injury, Hanson is launching a beer brand called, you guessed it, "MMMhop."

The name is just about as wierd as the board game they have on their website called "Hansonopoly."

The youngest of the brothers in the band, Zac, says that "It's vital our fans trust in everything Hanson [does]. We are soon going to be selling our own beer. I'm not joking - MMMhop IPA anyone?"

The beer will be an Indian Pale Ale and available early next year. They say that the idea has been "brewing for some time."

Of course, this has led at least one blogger to post other beer brands that "we'd love to see on shelves," such as:

  • Nickelbock -- A crappy light beer with a strange but devoted following, sort of like Milwaukee's Best
  • Mighty Mighty Bosstone(s) Lager -- A classic Boston Lager.
  • Whit Me Baby One More Time -- One to keep away from the kids.

I will leave you with the music video for MMMBop, just in case you have forgotten it.

Or tried to.

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October 21, 2011

The Influence of Brand Name Booze in Rap Music May Lead to Teen Drinking

Diddy With Ciroc.jpgResearchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine are starting to wonder if rap singers aren't subtly doing some free advertising for the alcohol industry.

They recently looked at 793 songs from Billboard Magazine's top 100 lists from 2005 - 2007 and discovered that 21.3% of them referred to alcohol. And almost a quarter of those songs referred to brand name alcohol. The brands that get the most mentioned were "Patrón Téquila, Grey Goose Vodka, Hennessy Cognac and Cristal Champagne."

Alcohol companies, of course, are happy to get the recognition, but it seems that many singers are also tangentially involved in the alcohol business. Jay-Z, for instance, owns a percentage of Armadale Vodka while Snoop Dogg was the face for Landy Cognac in 2008 and, not coincidentally, sang a song about it called Luv Drunk.

Now, studies are saying that US teens hear three brand names for every hour of rap music they listen to. Given that the average teen listens to 2.5 hours of music per day, your average kid is hearing 8 alcohol brand names daily.

Rapper With Alcohol.jpg

Some people say American teens are listening to a lot more than simply 2.5 hours of music, suggesting that they hear up to 34 alcohol brand names every day while they listen to music that promotes a "luxury lifestyle characterized by degrading sexual activity, wealth, partying, violence and the use of drugs."

It is no coincidence that the brand names that are most frequently mentioned are also the ones the teenage drinkers seem to prefer. This might be because the way rap stars associate good times with drinking. "The brand names were associated with wealth 63.4 percent of the time; sex, 58.5 percent; luxury objects, 51.2 percent; partying, 48.8 percent; other drugs, 43.9 percent and vehicles, 39 percent, according to the study."

This could suggest that this is a form of advertising that is inadvertently promoting drinking among teenagers. The high prevalence of brand names in rap music is "inconsistent with the alcohol industry's self-regulatory code to prevent marketing to underage drinkers."

Nobody is suggesting that the alcohol industry is part of some nefarious plot, but there is no doubt that drinking is something that musicians have glamorized for years. George Thorogood And The Destroyers sang gleefully of One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer, an adaptation of a John Lee Hooker song from 1966.

The difference here, of course, is that now actual brand names are being touted.

Singing about drinking in the abstract, it seems to me, is a little bit different than singing about it and naming the actual labels on the bottles.

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August 24, 2011

Truly Tasteless Wine Product Naming: The 9/11 Memorial Commemorative Wines

911MemorialWine.pngThe 9/11 Memorial Commemorative wines, produced by Lieb Cellars on Long Island gets the medal today for the most tasteless, cynical and grotesque product naming of the last decade.

This is really ghoulish product naming that makes me want to tear my hair out. Even energy drink product naming doesn't cross this line.

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has called the brand naming around this wine "grotesque, exploitative" and "vomit inducing," and he's right.

Never mind that Lieb Cellars is giving a portion of the proceeds to the National September 11 Museum.

They have the bad taste to sell their red and white abominations at $19.11 a bottle.

One Twitter user has captured my thoughts exactly, "9/11 wine. The dominant flavors are reminiscent of fresh green apples with underlying hints of VULTURES."

This outfit has also been flogging September Mission Merlot at $9.11 a bottle, and claim to have already raised $25,000 for the cause.

I mean, $9.11 a bottle? Really, Lieb Cellars?

This is the "wine you never asked for" says Jezebel.

Perez Hilton puts it best, "WTF?" He calls this "tacky" and posted the following tweet: "@NoReservations - 911 Wine?!!? Are you out your f*@%ing MIND?!! EPIC FAIL."

Congratulations, Lieb Cellars. You now hold the award for worst product naming ever.

You have inherited this prestigious mantle from Cocaine Energy Drink.

Here's to hoping your product and its execrable name go right down the drain.

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July 19, 2011

Mommy Wine Product Naming and Branding: A Good Thing?

MommyJuiceWine.pngI have been watching with interest the way in which moms are being increasingly targeted by alcohol companies... especially winemakers.

There can be no doubt that mothers of young children have a real love for the stuff - the Facebook group called Moms Who Need Wine has over 415,000 fans and the group called OMG I So Need a Glass of Wine or I'm Gonna Sell My Kids is also very popular.

The marketing has spilled into naming.

Here, I am thinking about two wine brands - "MommyJuice" (pictured at right) and "Mommy's Time Out," which are cheap wines aimed right at the tired mother.

As ParentDish points out, there are also wines out there with names like "Mad Housewife" and "Bitch," and another with a perfume shaped bottle.

Is this a good thing?

For years we have made beer drinking for dad look like a recreational activity. Women account for over three quarters of the wine buyers out there, and many of them are moms... so what's the harm?

Some bloggers say that the wines do not encourage overindulgence and in fact speak for moderation. I support that, and the fact that many moms are thrilled to have wine brands targeted right at them. There is even a social group called "Wine With Mommy."

There is no wine called "Daddy's Time Away," jokes NY Barfly.

But these wines for mom have lately been embroiled in a trademark dispute, over that touchy name "mommy." My take on it is that the name is generic, and I have been awaiting the outcome of this.

But I also side with Booze Business Blog, which says "One thing is clear to me. The moment they co-pack the wine with a Sippy cup, I'm going to hurt someone."

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