the product naming blog

May 29, 2012

Should Airport Naming Rights Be Given to Alcohol Brands? China Thinks So

WuliangyeLiquor.jpgImagine that you were taking a flight to Jack Daniels International Airport. Or Absolut International.

Would that be a little, well, strange?

An airport being built in southwest China will be named Wuliangye after a high-end spirits brand.

Wuliangye is a 600 year-old drink that is the second biggest liquor brand in China after Moutai, so the local officials saw a chance to cash in on the brand's resonance.

The brand's flagship office is located a few kilometers from where the airport is being built, which is slated to handle 800,000 passengers yearly by 2020.

This brand naming example has caused a bit of an uproar in China, where airport names have historically referred to the geographic location of the airport.

Chinese bloggers found time to make fun of this move, with one writing "Ha, ha, another new example of the collusion between the government and the business world," and another suggesting that the Xian airport in the northern province of Shaanxi be renamed "Meat Sandwich Airport" after a local food.

It is unclear how much Wuliangye paid for the naming rights, but it is probably the start of a larger trend given the cost of air travel these days.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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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Posted by William Lozito at 8:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2012

Brand Naming Public Bikes is OK, But is the Grand Canyon Next?

CitiBikesSharing.jpgThe interesting piece by Steve Smith in the NY Daily News praising the brand naming of New York's bike sharing efforts via the Citi Bike program is going to bring up the old argument over whether or not everything is up for grabs when it comes to brand naming.

Smith's point is that this is another "new way for private dollars to help make possible a program with important public benefits."

Will parks and museums be the next to see privatization? Millions of people visit these places each year, and let's face it, it's hard to shock a New Yorker.

The bottom line, according to Smith, is that "Public services are expensive. Taxpayers are stretched. Let companies be part of the solution."

Let's also recall that New York is considering the move towards making parking meters a private business, and this of course would lead to ads and branding meters.

The problem is that once you privatize a space (like a parking space, or a library or a park), the state may still need to be able to move that space, or convert it to something else, should the need arise. And the company that sponsors it now gets a say.

SchoolSponsorhsip.pngCorporate naming in schools is also tricky, according to a very recent New York Times opinion piece by Tom Friedman.

Friedman argues that "When public schools are plastered with commercial advertising, they teach students to be consumers rather than citizens."

OK, sure. But schools already use so many brand name products that it seems silly to ban brand naming from, say, the sides of buses or the gym. To reword Smith, the cost of education is expensive. Parents are stretched. Let companies be part of the solution.

A public park may get the nod from a brand, but as Meghan Dunn argued a few years ago in the LA Times, I don't think the Grand Canyon will be renamed Gap Gulch anytime soon.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 3, 2012

South Africa Needs to Protect Rooibos Product Naming

RooibosTea.jpgCNN is reporting that South Africa's rooibos tea is a hit worldwide.

Grown only in the Western Cape of South Africa, this "red bush" (rooibos is the Afrikaans word for "red bush") tea has turned into a $23 billion industry, not least because the sweet red tea tastes good and has more anti-oxidants than green tea.

It also helps with colic, allergies, asthma and acne.

The growing area for the tea is tiny, centered in the mountainous Cederberg region just north of Cape Town.

Since the trade has quickly become so lucrative, producers in the small region are trying to protect the "rooibos" name.

Many feel the rooibos tea should be given a geographical indication status, similar to what the French government set in place for the word "champagne" - Champagne can only be used on wine from the Champagne region of France.

A producer of the tea, Willem Engelbrecht was quoted saying "I think it is the responsibility of government to make sure that legislation come in place, because we need to protect our cultural assets."

Indeed. The rooibos product name and heritage should be protected, and a regional indication status would most likely be the best way to do it.

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

April 26, 2012

Crazy Russian Beard Guy Tries to Trademark Goatee Naming - and the Goatee Itself

Goatee.pngCall me crazy, but I'm thinking that the Russian guy who is trying to trademark the goatee is probably a few Stoli shots short of a party.

Oh yes, I.V. Pugnach, whose last name surprisingly translates to "scarecrow" and not "ridiculous idiot," thinks the erstwhile goatee is an important part of Russian culture.

He scrutinizes non-Russians who wear the beard, stating they are committing a form of "genocide."

He believes he can charge non-Russians $600 for wearing a goatee.

He's also upset with President Obama for not punishing Gaddafi for wearing the beard and he also believes movie stars should be fined $30,000.

The trademark defines the beard as "the type with no sideburns that covers just the chin and the patch above the upper lip."


One lawyer explains to the Huffington Post that those who sport the beard have no need to worry. In fact, Pugnach would have to show that his beard is distinctive to him.

Is the particular beard distinctive enough that he can require a license, or sue for infringement if anyone else uses it? I wouldn't think so. But that doesn't mean it couldn't get past the licensing board.

If he is a popular blogger, he may have enough visitors on his page that will argue successfully that a substantial portion of the consuming public has grown to associate the beard with him - but the dude looks like Trotsky.

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Posted by William Lozito at 8:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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