the product naming blog

May 24, 2012

Social Media Might Help Country Time Put Arnold Palmer Naming in a Sand Trap


The drink recipe of half lemonade and half iced tea was created by the famous golfer Arnold Palmer, he has a licensing deal to market this product, using his name and image on packaging.

Marketing Daily presents an interesting naming dilemma to the world today, as Country Time promotes its new lemonade and iced tea mix.

So how do they name their new drink?

By enlisting celebrities such as Drew Brees, Kristen Chenoweth and Michael Waltrip to push for their own name using social media and crowd sourcing.

It's called the "Campaign for the Name."

Consumers are asked to help campaign for the name they like best. And by the end of the summer, a new brand, for Country Time's version of the drink, will be born.

There are videos galore that add an emotional, funny angle to the whole thing.

What we have here is a move to make celebrities' fans into consumers.

This may work for Country Time, as the relevance of Arnold Palmer is fading.

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May 23, 2012

Churchkey Beer Product Naming Has Gone Retro

churchkey.jpgHere's an interesting name for a beer - Churchkey.

Hollywood star Adrian Grenier unveiled his new Seatle-brewed beer yesterday in New York. Churchkey comes from the name of a can opener that is used to punch holes in an old-school can of beer. You know, the ones that are just flat on top.

Those flat topped cans went extinct when the pull tab came along in the 1960s.

But here is where it gets interesting - church key may be a variation on "tchotchke," which essentially is a word for any unusual trinket.

The old tchotchke openers were given away at gas stations and at breweries as an advertising gimmick, and over time the name changed to church key.

Ironically, "tchotchke" is originally a Yiddish word.

Churchkey Can Co. feels "The name was then adopted to all tools used to open beer - with an ironic twist - for it is said if you used a church key opener (i.e. if you drank beer), you would be less likely to open the door of a church to attend service."

Similarly, MillerCoors has recently introduced the "Punch Top Can," which is designed with the normal pop top as well as an extra tab to puncture. This tab helps increase airflow and allows for a smoother pour.

Controversy has surrounded the design of the can as it is similar to shotgunning - the act of puncturing an extra hole in the can and consuming the beer at a high rate of speed.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 22, 2012

The University of Texas Learns the Hard Way About Typos and Naming

TexasTypo.jpgToday we consider a worst case naming scenario.

The University of Texas is experiencing huge Internet backlash over a typo on its commencement program for the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

They spelled "public" incorrectly. Worse, they spelled it "pubic."

Cue laughter and jokes (LBJ School makes a Very Pubic Error, situation gets hairy, etc.)

Then, the school panicked and sent out a tweet apologizing for the "eggregious" (should be spelt "egregious") error:

Our deepest apologies to our 2012 graduates for the eggregious typo in our program. We are working to distribute corrected programs." -@TheLBJSchool

Oh, the agony.

The school, after a few false starts, sent out a formal apology to the graduates:

Dear 2012 Graduates,

The cover of this year's commencement program contained an unfortunate typographical error, which has since been corrected and is in the process of being distributed. The error originated with UT Printing, but we failed to catch it. The mistake was inexcusable, and we are mortified. As soon as we caught the error ­after the programs had been distributed, unfortunately we immediately began work on a corrected version that we will send out electronically and in hard copy to all our graduates, with our deepest apologies. We will send three hard-copy versions to each of you so that you can pass those on to your families and friends. Let us know if you need additional copies. No one feels worse about this than I do, so please accept my deepest personal apology.

With best wishes,

Robert Hutchings, Dean
LBJ School of Public Affairs

This was the good move. The personal apology from the dean acknowledges the mistake and shows that people in high places genuinely feel bad about it.

Then, another good move: all efforts were made to clear up the mistake.

The lesson here is that typos happen. To anyone.

And there needs to be a foolproof system to avoid this kind of exponential embarrassment when they do happen and damage control needs to be in place.

Heading right to Twitter is probably not the right thing to do. Understand who will apologize, make the apology, and only then tweet about it.

And learn how to spell "egregious."

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 17, 2012

Australia Wangles a Naming and Branding Blooper

car.pngEvery so often I like to return to one of the biggest dangers in the world of naming and branding, and that's what happens when your brand becomes lost in translation.

It seems a company from down under called Wyngle found that their name really wasn't trusted all that much by Americans as it sounds too much like "wangle." So they are now named

The article, Five business rebrands that got lost in translation, mentions four other notorious failures, including Peugeot's ill-fated attempt to move into the Chinese market - the Chinese translation of Peugeot is "Biao zhi," which sounds like the Chinese slang term for "prostitute."

Other notable faux pas include Pepsi's slogan "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" which in Taiwanese translates to "Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead." And in China the KFC mantra "finger licking good" translates to "eat your fingers off."

But of course the world is littered with terrible names, and they just keep coming. Vauxhall's new car will be called "Adam," leading one source to wonder "Couldn't Vauxhall have done better?"


And don't forget about the Netflix, SyFy, iSnack 2.0 and AOL naming debacles.

Let's just hope companies learn from these brand naming faux pas.

We have compiled a list of brand naming faux pas you may find helpful.

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Posted by William Lozito at 7:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 10, 2012

Man's Name Change to Tyrannosaurus Rex Brings Up Interesting Naming Dilemma

Trex.pngThe news that a Nebraska entrepreneur has legally changed his name to Tyrannosaurus Rex all in the service of increasing his name recognition is worth a laugh.

Yes, you read that correctly, Tyler Gold thought his name didn't have quite the resonance as that of the famous carnivorous dinosaur. With the approval of a judge, he changed his name to Tyrannosaurus Rex Jospeh Gold.

He had to assure everyone he wasn't changing his name to avoid creditors or the police. He simply wanted potential clients to remember his name.

As one blogger points out, "Whether prospective clients will see him as a valuable business partner - rather than a complete fool - remains to be seen."

He will refer to himself as "T-Rex" because he says it's "cooler" and "more recognizable" than just Tyler.

Now, while this may not be a smart move it is actually a sad example of the poor guy's desire for name recognition being eclipsed by his need to build meaning into his personal brand.

The world is actually full of ridiculous brand names that drew howls of derision across the blogosphere when they were introduced. Here I am thinking of Wii and iPad. Both names are eye catching and even a little ridiculous, yet the names are now ubiquitous.

The difference is that both the Wii and iPad names lend meaning to their products. "We" are brought together to play the Wii video game system, while the iPad name is descriptive of the tablet and follows Apple's naming convention.

But what if he was an exceptionally aggressive lawyer? Or a professional wrestler? The name change would still be ridiculous, but fraught with meaning. Nobody states what our friend in Nebraska actually does, so while people will remember his new name, it may evoke the wrong impression.

Think about the real law firm called "Payne & Fears." Surely they would have room on their staff for a guy named T-Rex?

I don't know about you, but that sounds like a great name for a divorce lawyer.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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