Marketing: June 2009 Archives

cinnamon-biscuit-holes.gifI am not going to pass judgment on Hardee's new brand naming effort with their "Biscuit Holes" promotion, but cannot help but submit my aversion to the idea.

Now referring to food as "holes" has a long pedigree - donut holes were a staple of my childhood - but Hardee's is using the name "Biscuit Holes" as sort of a placeholder while they try to convince customers to better it.

Hardee's has a mobile web site with the URL which, to say the least, sounds a little strange. Fans have responded with names like "B-Holes" and "Heavenly Balls."

You can see where this is going.

Hardees-bischoles-d.gifThe mobile element to this naming effort samples the "man on the street" ad philosophy. Stickers on the packaging drive consumers to the site, which really makes this naming for the Facebook generation: "'We view our 'young, hungry guy' customers as people who are going to do things instantaneously, so mobile seems a natural' medium for CKE" says one CKE Restaurants executive.

The slight problem here is that the Facebook generation seems to have taste issues, and the outgrowth of the Name Our Holes campaign has been disgust on the part of the blogosphere.

We're seeing names like "creamy sweet holes," "hole munchers," and "dingle balls" while Hardee's is chuckling right along with their tagline "They sound wrong. But taste so right."

bk-super-seven-incher.gifAdage calls this a Carl Jr. inspired "smutfest" and offers us a disturbing look at future ads.

Burger King, however, is also taking the same kind of flack for its "Super Seven Incher" advertisement which looks like it was cooked up in a frat house.

In light of all this, the PopWatch blog has announced that "Subtlety Is Dead." I must agree.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

lg_barclays.gifThe New York Times seems a little anxious over the fact that London-based Barclay's Bank has attached its name to "the nexus of subway stops at Atlantic Avenue, Pacific Street and Flatbush Avenue" at a cost of $4 million.

This is part of the new plan to create a Barclay's Center (the new sports stadium for the New Jersey Nets) in the area by Atlantic Yards and essentially declares open season on the New York subway when it comes to naming rights.

The New York Times continues to state its amazement, writing "if a company can pay to get its name on any station, a New Yorker might wonder what's next: Coca-Cola Presents 59th Street-Columbus Circle?"

Well, yes. The Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) is even open to the idea of Taco Bell renaming Grand Army Station.

The New York Times' Freakomics blog also asks if the next step is "The "Bill Golden Gates Bridge," while jokingly suggesting that Subway should pay New York for getting all that free publicity.

NY-subway.gifAs pointed out on Minyanville, "The possibilities are almost endless: There are 468 stations along the system's 26 lines and 722 miles of track. Advertisers already turn the inside of the subway's 6,400 cars into rolling billboards."

Interestingly, Minyanville also notes that when the subway was opened in 1904 it was meant to be ad-free.

The bloggers over in Chicago have already figured out what the Chicago Transport Authority (CTA) can do with some of the stops in that city, offering us nuggets like:

  • Belmont LifeLube station

  • 18th Street Blick station

  • Clark/Division Viagra stop

  • Diversey Starbucks stop

  • Addison Axe station
Over in the UK, a more sober analysis points out that "There is a Barclay Square in London and a Barclay Street close to where the Twin Towers once stood in lower Manhattan" so the name itself shouldn't be a big shock to New Yorkers.

However, while everyone in the UK knows Barclay's Bank, few in New York do.

This will definitely change.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

The Ford Taurus is back after the new CEO Alan Mulally decided to resurrect the name after asking Ford executives in 2006 "How many billions of dollars does it cost to build brand loyalty around a name?"

This is exactly the question I would have liked to ask them!

Taurus-2010-F34.gifHe instructed his engineers to go ahead and "make the coolest vehicle that you can possibly make (and name it the Taurus)," and the result is now on the road.

The press likes it, as does pretty much anyone who sees it.

But the interesting thing to note is that the car is not the mid-range, erstwhile "flying potato" of the early 1990s. This is an upscale, full size luxury sedan priced between $27,000 and $38,000.

Autoblog calls it the "once and future king" and takes us down memory lane from the very first Taurus (1985) all the way to its demise in 2006. They also remind us that Ford briefly revived the Taurus name on the 500 in 2007, and that it went from "America's hope to America's rental lots."

Now, you will soon be able to get the Taurus SHO (Super High Output), which one Ford executive calls the "flagship sedan."

Although, to get one of these with all the bells and whistles, you're looking at an even higher price tag of $41,000.

The San Francisco Ford, Lincoln, Mercury blog says that "convincing consumers that the new Taurus is a Taurus is one thing; making them fork over 40 grand for one is another. Both are hurdles Ford will have to overcome to make the car a success in the market."

Applying the Taurus name to an upscale automobile is a big risk. The Taurus was the ultimate mid-range car - Detroit's answer to the Camry, not the Lexus.

Why would somebody want to pay luxury prices for a brand name that is indelibly associated with good value?

I don't know how this will play out for Ford, but for me, it will definitely be exciting to see the Taurus back on the road again.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

steve-jobs-iphone.gifThe entire blogosphere seems to be wondering if Steve Jobs himself changed the name of the new iPhone from iPhone 3G S to iPhone 3GS.

All references to the former name are off the website, but no formal announcement was made, nor was a press release ever issued. Even the company's partners were not given a heads up.

One thing is for sure, it will definitely make it easier for journalists and bloggers, because creating the plural of 3G S leads us to the ridiculously awkward 3G Ss.

3GSs just seems easier to write and read, doesn't it?

The change was first noted in a press release quoting Steve Jobs as saying one million iPhone 3GSs have been sold, leading most of us to think that Jobs is behind this name change.

iphone3gs-logo.gifSome feel that this is an SEO issue, although this technically changes next to nothing on Google. It has also been speculated that the a logo's odd use of the 's' may have had something to do with the change.

Additionally, there may have been a trademark concern: "3G" is generic (as myTouch 3G illustrates), and "S" is generic, but 3GS can be protected.

I too see the hand of Jobs behind this. Surely only someone as powerful as he could order a change mid-launch? Forget about the red tape, he just decided to make the switch on his first day back on the job.

So iPhone 3GS it is. Welcome back Mr. Jobs.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Intel's new Core i3, i5 and i7 branding is a much needed simplification of its brand naming nomenclature, which I've commented on before.

intel-core-i7-i5-i3.gifA spokesman for the company said that it is "important to note that these are not brands but modifiers to the Intel Core brand that signal different features and benefits."

The Lynnfield processor for desktops will feature either Core i5 or Core i7; Arrandale will be launched as Core i3 but will soon embrace Core i5 and Core i7; and Clarkdale will be available in Core i3 and Core i5 brands.

Meanwhile, the Centrino name will be retired as a PC brand but find new life in the realm of Wi-Fi and WiMax products.

Celeron will hang around for "entry-level" computing, Pentium for "basic" computing and the Atom processor will exist for "devices ranging from netbooks to smartphones."

In short, the company spokesman said, "For PC purchasing, think in terms of good-better-best with Celeron being good, Pentium better, and the Intel Core family representing the best we have to offer."

As a result, the main focus of the company's branding will be on the Core brand processor.

Sylvie Barak says on TweakTown that this is actually a "confusing mess" that doesn't cut down on the bolus of brands that intel has saddled itself with.

Engadgeteer, however, is wondering what they will call the new octal-core high-end server processor...the Core i8?

I applaud the focus on "Core," but wonder what will happen to the Intel Inside strategy that made Intel the first chip company to become a well-known, top of mind technology brand.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

The new Amarok "ute" naming coming out of Volkswagon both intrigues and puzzles me.

Ute, by the way, is short for "utility vehicle."

VW_Ute_on_beach.gifThis particular vehicle is kind of a hybrid pick-up truck and is set to be sold everywhere in the world except the U.S.

However, VW has registered the trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, leading some to suspect that we may see the "ute" on streets close to home pretty soon.

The irony in the name is that Amarok means "wolf" in the Inuit language, and since the Inuit are Native Americans who hail from the upper 48, Alaska and Canada, they will not be able to drive one, because the Amarok will probably not be sold in these places, at least right away.

One VW CEO said, "This name fits to a tee the characteristics of our utility, which will set new standards in its class. We took great care selecting this name, which can be used globally. The Amarok is meant to invoke positive associations in all relevant international markets and make a more convincing argument than its established competitor's right from the start."

VW calls the division that makes these vehicles in Germany "Nutzfahrzeuge," meaning "use vehicles" and thus the "ute," or "utility," moniker that may or may not be useful to the product naming.

This moves the naming scheme for VW even further away from the Golfs, Sciroccos, and Corrados of years past and toward a much more esoteric naming nomenclature.

Their Toureg is named after a nomadic tribe in the Sahara (where you can't buy VWs, nomads generally walk anyway) and their Tiguan is an amalgamation of "Tiger and Lizard" that was put in place thanks in part to the enthusiasm of AutoBahn readers, but quickly was named one of the 10 worst car names ever by at least one blogger.

Nonetheless, VW had better be very careful about referring to their new vehicle as a "ute" if they do come to our shores, not least because another North American tribe, called the Ute Tribe, tend to be very protective of their name, as the University of Utah found out when they tried to name their sports team the "Running Utes."

Technorati Tags: , , , ,