Product Naming: April 2011 Archives

Strategic Name Development Offers $2,500 Scholarship

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Students.jpgStrategic Name Development is proud to announce we are once again offering a $2,500 naming scholarship for undergraduate college students majoring in Linguistics, English, Marketing or Mass Communications.

This unique scholarship was designed to provide those students interested in naming and branding with a rewarding opportunity to display their creative work.

Students interested are asked to develop five (5) new name candidates for an electric car innovation and write a 1,000 word essay supporting each of the name submissions.

We will award the student that submits the most creative and appropriate names a $2,500 scholarship for the fall 2011 semester.

We encourage any interested students to submit their essay by midnight EDT on August 15th, 2011.

More details can be found here.

We are excited to review the great name candidate submissions!

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The world of condom product naming and branding is highly competitive, as two developing news pieces point out. The battle between Meyer Laboratories (who owns the ultra-thin Kimono brand) and Church & Dwight (who owns Trojan) has escalated over the latter's use of "planograms."

Trojan has used these plans to entice retailers to promote Trojan condom displays over other brands in exchange for kickbacks on condom sales.

condom-shelves.jpgNot surprisingly, this has evolved into a legal issue, with Meyer labs arguing that this practice is anti-competitive (Trojan has grown from 64% of the market in 2001 to 75% in 2008). Meanwhile, Trojan's main competitor, Lifestyles, has deflated from 13% to 7.7% over the same period.

The lesson here, of course, is if customers can't see your brand name, they won't buy it. In an effort to fight back, Meyer filed 12 counter-claims against Trojan in 2009, "including violations of the Sherman Act, California professional and business codes, violations of California laws on exclusive dealing and secret rebates, tortious interference, unfair competition and trademark violations."

Meanwhile, Durex has plans for a new condom from Futura Medical that actually has a vascodilator (think Viagra) coating to help men who deflate while putting on condoms.

CSD500 is the current product name, but medGadget "imagine[s] that Durex, the manufacturing and distributing partner, will have a spicier nom de guerre when it goes on sale."

The magic ingredient is called Zanifil and is already being called "Viagra for condoms." Scheduled to be available in Europe with a new name by the end of the year, many believe that this will help "normalize" condoms and further promote safe sex.

Although, I doubt it will need its own display, since innovative products like this usually tend to sell themselves until the competitors create a copycat.

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How Product Naming and Branding Makes Dieters Fat

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ChipsSmoothieFlavoredWater.pngA new study indicates that a name change for a food product may actually change our perception of its health benefits.

A piece in the The Journal of Consumer Research shows that consumers looking to make "healthy" choices can be easily misled into making unhealthy choices by focusing on the wrong names for foods.

Apples, for instance, are seen as more healthy than cupcakes. But what happens when we start calling milkshakes "smoothies?" Or potato chips turn into "veggie chips?" Or sugary drinks get called "flavored water?"

The study presented subjects with a "pre-prepared mixture of vegetables, pasta, salami, and cheese, served on a bed of romaine lettuce." When the dish was labeled "pasta" it was rated as being less healthy than when it was called a "salad." Dieters also choose candies that were called "fruit chews" over those called "candy chews" - and ate more of them.

The bottom line is that dieters try to avoid unhealthy foods rather than seek out healthy ones. They are "more sensitive to certain taboo food names - like pasta, ice cream, potato chips and candy - than people who aren't constantly watching their weight" and can actually wind up eating more junk food than those who don't have this bias.

Dieters focus on the name of the product they are eating over the ingredients, and this means that it is easy to deceive them. As one blogger points out, "The joke may be on us."

But of course, marketers know this. Organic food, for example, is often considered healthier than its non-organic counterpart - even when it's not.

The magic word "organic," which I have written about before is meaningless, benefits from the "halo-effect" that enables sub-par foods to be considered healthier than they really are.

This effect is best seen, as Walletpop points out, when we see a person wearing a pocket protector and glasses and assume he is intelligent, or judge a blonde person as having a "joie d' vivre."

Smoothies and salads are almost always seen as being better for you than chips and pasta... even when they are not. Changing the name on products that get the "horned effect" (my term) may actually increase sales among the very people who call themselves dieters.

I'm going to go have some cookies now... I mean organic oat cakes. :)

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toshiba-tablet.pngSo it looks as if the new Toshiba Honeycomb tablet is going to be called the Thrive.

It is currently referred to by its code name ANT, but it has been revealed that Toshiba recently applied for the Thrive trademark in the US.

This will pit the Thrive against the Samsung Galaxy Tab and the Motorola Xoom.

An assortment of URLs have also been registered including ToshibaThrive.com, ThriveTablet.com, ThriveToshiba.com and TabletThrive.com.

It is rumored that the tablet will be an Android 3.0 Honeycomb-powered tablet that was refereed to as the "Antares" at the Mobile World Congress back in February.

According to Inquisitr, it will boast "a 10.1 inch display with 1280 x 600 pixels of resolution with 720p upscaling, a two-megapixel front-facing camera and a primary camera with five-megapixels."

The device will retail at about $450, but there is no word yet on its US release.

Toshiba has been very coy about this of course, calling it at first "The unnamed Toshiba tablet." They even registered the URL called TheToshibaTablet.com.

Interestingly, Android Police points out that the LG Thrive smartphone was just announced a few days ago.

The LG Thrive is a Froyo-based smartphone that started shipping on Friday.

It will be interesting to see if LG can fend of Toshiba since the former apparently did not submit a trademark application, and Toshiba did on April 7th.

There is no word yet from either company if this is going to become a problem. But watch this space.

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AmericanHarvestOrganicSpirit.pngVodka lovers can rejoice today.

Sydney Frank Importing - who brought us one of the most exclusive vodkas ever, Grey Goose - is now offering us a new concoction called
American Harvest Organic Spirit.

This is, on the face of it, an American vodka. Or should I say an American made "organic spirit" that tastes just like really good citrus-y vodka?

Why not just call it vodka, you ask?

The problem is that the company sold Grey Goose for a cool $2.2 billion to Bacardi in 2004 with the agreement they would stay out of the vodka business. But the "organic spirit" business was never mentioned, so here we are.

I was interested to see just how much work went into the naming and branding of Grey Goose: Sydney Frank had named it and gave it a country of origin (France) before making a single drop.

The new "organic spirit" comes in at $23.99 a bottle (cheaper than $30+ for Grey Goose) and they cheerily inform us how its made in Rigby, Idaho using water "distilled from aquifers deep beneath the Snake River plain."

This is a top end liquor for the frugal patriot. And it leverages the fact that it is "organic," a magic but possibly meaningless word in the world of naming and branding.

It even has a Coca-Cola-esque secret formula, or what the company calls "a proprietary blend of organic ingredients."

It's not vodka, they assure us (and maybe Bacardi's lawyers), but a "revolutionary look at the vodka category."

Sydney Frank Importing seems to be skating very close to the edge. Can they really create a new drink category? Will we actually order a martini made out of "organic spirit?" Hmm. Watch this space.

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Non-BrandedCigarettes.pngI'm pretty impressed to see Australia implement some really tough new cigarette packaging rules.

I had a feeling that this initiative was on the way since shops in Australia were already prohibited from displaying cigarette packs, but what Australia has now imposed is quite amazing.

Australia has decided that all cigarette packs will be colored olive green, and plastered with dire health warnings and images. More than that, all logos will be removed and the typography of the brand names will be made absolutely uniform.

The olive green color was chosen because research results showed that it is the least attractive color for smokers. The graphic health warnings and images will consist of "black, diseased gums, blinded eyes and children in hospital" which will cover 75% of the packaging surface.

New Zealand is likely to follow suit despite the fact that British American Tobacco Australia has already argued that these laws would constitute Trademark and international property infringement. We can expect Canada and Great Britain to give this serious thought as well.

One thing is for sure - a huge legal battle is in the making. Tobacco companies feel that this is
anti-competitive and the governments may be on shaky legal ground.

The Australian law is proposed to take effect in six months and is proof positive that product naming and branding and especially packaging have a major influence on consumers. Why else would the tobacco companies be prepared for such a massive legal battle?

Phillip Morris, Imperial Tobacco and British American Tobacco Australia have all criticized the Australian announcement and are planning to "robustly challenge" the mandate.

Plain packaging, it is felt, will fuel the trade in counterfeit cigarettes and trash hundreds of millions of dollars of intellectual property.

Nonetheless, the move is said to most likely reduce smoking in Australia by 10% in less than 10 years. Currently, there are about 15,000 Australians who die every year because of tobacco related illnesses.

The tobacco companies point out that the same kind of severe legislation would never be imposed against our soda or fast food brands.

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