the product naming blog

May 1, 2012

Brooklyn Nets Branding Gets a Rap Edge

BrooklynNetsLogos.pngYesterday, the Brooklyn Nets unveiled their new logo and colors for this NBA season.

They also have a new borough and a new arena. The logo and typography's black and white scheme "pays homage to the old New York subway signage system."

More than that, according to ESPN, the Nets will have two primary logos (pictured at left).

The shield will be called "the shield of Brooklyn" which rapper and part owner Jay-Z, helped design. He boasts "The boldness of the designs demonstrate the confidence we have in our new direction. Along with our move to Brooklyn and a state-of-the-art arena, the new colors and logos are examples of our commitment to update and refine all aspects of the team."

This move from New Jersey is now complete, and the subway color scheme further entrenches the Nets in people's minds as a pure New York team.

This is the NBA's only team with a black and white color scheme, making it uniquely New York.

BrooklynNetsTheCorner.pngThe team seems to be "leaning hard" on rap references to link itself to Brooklyn's "rap history" says Yahoo! Sports.

For example, there is an official NBA t-shirt named The Corner, which bears the Brooklyn name with sneakers hanging from it.

This references when sneakers are hung over telephone wires or power lines marking where either somebody was murdered in connection with gang violence, or the sneakers are used as a marker by drug dealers letting prospective buyers know where the drugs are sold.

I'm not sure there will be an outcry from the public over the rap references. After all, Jay-Z is part owner of the team, but it's going to have to have an edge.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 18, 2012

Ninety-Nine Name Ideas for Rebranding the New Orleans Hornets

HornetsLogo.pngTom Benson, the new owner of the New Orleans Hornets, purchased his basketball franchise on Friday for $338 million.

And now it looks like he is planning to purchase a new team name as well. Or perhaps pick up a free one from the fans.

Benson says the name "Hornets" means nothing to the city. He's asking fans for their help in coming up with a new nickname.

I think he's got a point about the name, Hornets. That name also originated from the team's fans, back when the Hornets were a fledgling team in Charlotte North Carolina. The name was derived from the city's fierce resistance to the British occupation during the Revolutionary War which prompted the British commander, Lord Cornwallis, to refer to it as "a veritable nest of hornets."

Since the announcement of a possible name change, another veritable hornets nest has emerged from the fan base. Truth be told, Hornet fans have some clever team name ideas. And a lot of them.

The following 99 name candidates have been culled from social media and readers comments over the past five days. Since we have not been privy to any of Mr. Benson's marketing plans, we are loathe to make any strategic name recommendations. However, we have categorized the names to make his selection more convenient.

Saints & Sinners

Surprisingly, many of the fans comments called for the franchise to brand themselves as the Saints. But there's a football team that's not too keen on that idea. Here are some heavenly (and not so heavenly) alternatives that might address this spiritual need.

  • Angels
  • Apostles
  • Spirit
  • Soul
  • Bishops
  • Knights
  • The Parish
  • Beasts
  • Devils
  • Sinners
  • 666
  • Outlaws
  • Pirates
  • Crime
  • Gravediggers
Cuddly Animals

Let's face it, it's hard to hug a hornet. With some exceptions, teams named for these indigenous Louisiana creatures could be slightly more approachable.

  • Black Bears
  • Gatahs!
  • Pelicans
  • Termites
  • Mud Bugs
  • Mud Dogs
  • Skeeters
  • Mosquitoes
  • Crawdads
  • Crawfish
  • Crays

Sugar & Spice

New Orleans is known for it's great food experience. Any of these team names could positively impact the sale of concessions.

  • Sugar Cane
  • Spice
  • Po' Boys
  • Hot & Spicy
  • Fighting Gumbos
  • Hush Puppies
  • Jambalaya
  • Fighting Beignets
  • Steamers
  • Muffulletas

Never-Ending Night Life

From Mardi Gras to to New Years this is the city that knows how to party. And based on these name suggestions, apparently many of the team's fans do too.

  • Drunks
  • Celebration
  • Brew
  • Bourbon Street Players
  • Beads
  • Fests
  • Fling
  • Ballers
  • Bash
  • Revelers
  • Jesters
  • Razoo

String Music

Not surprisingly, a significant number of Hornets fans are vying for the return of the name 'Jazz' to the city from whence it came and more appropriately belongs. But since that brand has been playing well in Utah, fans might consider the following.

  • Sound
  • Brass
  • Blues
  • Boogie
  • Beat
  • Rhythm
  • Mambo
  • Groove
  • Soulmen

Blood Sports

These names could potentially broaden the fan base to include the 13 million + Twilight series fans.

  • Vampires
  • Zombies
  • Voodoo
  • Dreadlocks
  • Swamp People
  • Swampsters
  • Witch Doctors

Courting Disaster

Rather than being the victim of natural disaster, why not promote a team brand that brings disaster to its opponents on the basketball court?

  • Storm
  • Oil Spills
  • The Flood
  • Levees
  • Hurricanes
  • Flash Floods
  • Zephyrs
  • Nightmare
  • Crescents
  • The Wave
  • River
  • Poseiden

Real Life Resilience

On the court and in real life these team names reflect a people that fight back and win.

  • Survivors
  • Fighting FEMAS
  • Bounce
  • Fighters
  • Pride
  • Defenders
  • No Limit Soldiers
  • Laginappe

By the People and for the People

Why not name the team for the people of New Orleans and the heroes who inspire them?

  • Cajuns
  • Gulf Coasters
  • Ragin' Cajuns
  • Lil' Wayne
  • Bayous
  • The Bounty Hunter


These team name suggestions defy categorization.

  • Bensons
  • Bounties
  • Breez
  • Jaxx
  • Krewe
  • Looters
  • Raiders
  • Runners
  • Weezy
  • Who Dat
  • Magnolias

Don't Stir the Hornet's Nest

Since the cost of a name and logo change can be somewhat stinging,some potential cost-savings could result from limiting the change to a slight variation on Hornets.

  • Stingers
  • Horns

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Posted by Diane Prange at 3:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 11, 2012

Tim Tebow Brand Name Gets Too Much Love From Reebok

Tim Tebow.pngIt's interesting that the American Marketing Association just released a study called "Brand Love" which looks at brand related elements such as "emotional attachment, linkages to self identity and several other elements."

Getting people to love your brand - rather than simply gain mere brand liking - seems to be the golden chalice, especially for apparel companies such as Nike and Reebok, who often use sports figures to amp up their resonance with consumers.

According to an ESPN poll, Tim Tebow was named the most popular pro athlete this year.

Tebow, a Christian, who recently gave an outdoor service in Texas to 15,000 people, has drawn such a following that one pastor commented, "In Christianity, it's the Pope and Tebow right now."

Talk about brand love.

But sometimes, love can hurt. As seen in the dispute had between Nike and Reebok over Tim Tebow apparel.


The dispute happened just before Nike took over the licensing rights for NFL apparel.

Reebok was attempting to make every last second count by emblazing Tebow's name and number on blank Jets jerseys. It was the creation of the brand-new merchandise that led a judge to block Reebok from selling 6,000 Tebow-Jets jerseys and 25,000 T-shirts that the company hastily stamped out.

Reebok will recall the new Jets apparel and has also agreed to not "manufacture, market, donate or advertise such merchandise."

Tebow's jersey for the Broncos was the second highest-selling jersey on the NFL website last season. Yet, surprisingly, there has yet to be an equally impressive surge in demand for Jets apparel as previously anticipated.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 20, 2012

Volvo Naming and Branding Gets a Dose of Linsanity

Lin.pngI think it is fascinating that NBA phenomena Jeremy Lin has signed a two year contract to be the face of Volvo.

You remember Volvo, right? This was the Swedish company that was acquired by the Chinese carmaker Geely.

The Lin marketing campaign will focus on the U.S. and China as well as "Chinese-language markets in Asia."

Lin is more than simply a basketball star, he has become a Linsation.

Lin, the only NBA player with a Harvard degree, is the "pride of the whole Chinese population" says Freeman Shen, the senior vice president of the Volvo Car Corporation and head of the company's China operations.

Volvo's willingness to use Lin means that they are also willing to subtly remind customers that Volvo - an iconic Swedish brand if there ever was one - is now a Chinese brand, thank you very much.

This move comes as basketball becomes more and more popular in China, and as the Volvo brand enters a period of "brand rejuvenation," with its "Designed Around You" concept.

We might be witnessing a turning of the corner for Chinese car makers, who might want to cash in on the quality of their cars and not hide behind former European brand names.

Could it be that in a few more years the Swedish heritage of Volvo will be swept under the rug? Is the world ready for a proud Chinese car brand? If Lin is the face of it, I guess so.

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Posted by William Lozito at 9:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 8, 2012

NFL Tackles Anyone Who Messes With Super Bowl Naming

SuperBowl.pngIt is interesting how the Super Bowl name is treated by advertisers.

"Trademarked and tenaciously defended by the NFL, the phrase 'Super Bowl' is available to just a handful of official sponsors that pay a significant amount for the rights to include the name in their marketing efforts."

The NFL has 22 official sponsors that pay over $100 million annually to be affiliated with the league, allowing them exclusive usage of the Super Bowl name in advertising.

Consumers are expected to drop around $11 billion on Super Bowl related merchandise this year alone, so it is clearly worth advertising around the game.

So how do you take advantage of this consumer spending without sponsoring the NFL?

Many companies use masked references like "The Big Game," for example Pizza Hut offered the "Big Deal for the Big Game." Funnily enough, the NFL unsuccessfully tried to trademark "The Big Game" in 2006.

This year the NFL scored some big hits in protecting its intellectual property in other ways. Several government agencies played a part in "Operation Fake Sweep" which blitzed fake merchandise and domain names.

Government teams nabbed a record-breaking 42,692 items of fake memorabilia and other counterfeit items worth $4.8 million, which is up from $3.72 million last year. In addition, a whopping 307 web sites violating the intellectual property of the NFL were shut down in the process.
Other NFL merchandise the U.S. will never see include the losing team's apparel. Merchandise displaying the New England Patriots as the 2012 Super Bowl champs will by donated to impoverished countries by World Vision.

I'm sure this is much relief of Giants fans everywhere.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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