A Vodka Sour

Was it an off-hand remark in a phone call? A mumbled "might be a good idea" in a meeting? A smiley face emoticon in an email? Just how does one mistakenly presume that Jimi Hendrix's estate gave their blessing for his name and likeness to be used on a brand of vodka?...

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Name that Bank

When I heard recently on the news that President Obama was going to propose a nationalized bank to buy up toxic assets, my first thought was, "I want to name it!" So let's have some fun. What would you name a financial institution that's flat broke and up to its...

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It’s All Good

Brand Strategy Insider features an interview with Dr. Carol Moog, a psychologist and consultant to the advertising industry on the psychology of messaging. Her findings support Pollywog's perspective that brand names should have instant meaning and connect with ideas...

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Best and Worst Brand Names of 2008

BEST 1. Air Apple has provided a terrific lesson in how to own an idea with a brand name by building the world's thinnest, lightest laptop and naming it the "Macbook Air." While other manufacturers may eventually engineer products with an even more delicate form...

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The Inside Scoop on 10 Tech Brand Names

If you like inside baseball stories about branding (and what brand geek doesn't?), check out CIO's slideshow: How 10 Famous Technology Products Got Their Names Brands include iPod, Blackberry, Firefox, Twitter and the Macintosh "big cat" naming convention. Interesting...

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Running from Vista–in the Wrong Direction

The tech blogs may be praising Microsoft's name for its new operating system, but here in branding land we're underwhelmed. "Windows 7" is a retreat into safe, bland territory a la "Windows 2" and "Windows 3.1." And while Microsoft claims "Windows 7" reflects a return...

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Chrome Wheels Into the Race

Google has unveiled its new browser, and instead of sticking with its branded-house naming convention (Google Mail, Google Docs, Google Maps, etc.), they've chosen to give this offering a bit more kick: Google Chrome. Web developers have long used the term "chrome"...

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Drinking the Pepsi Kool-Aid

I'm not a big fan of naming rights for sports stadiums. From a branding perspective, the name of the venue ought to be about the team, or at least the community. It ought not be about which corporation ponied up the most money so that its brand can intrude on the...

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Pollywog’s Top Ten Best Brand Names in Minnesota

1. The Electric Fetus - This Minneapolis record store has been around for almost 40 years, which makes the boldness of the name all the more impressive. As is common for provocative brand names, the Electric Fetus name has been roundly criticized. National Lampoon,...

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My Own Private .idaho

Some good news out of Paris last week. Internet regulators convened to discuss opening up top-level domains to companies, organizations and governments who can afford to buy them. For a price tag ranging from about $40,000 to $400,000, you can buy your very own...

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Love Hurts

The reliably clear-thinking Laura Ries goes off on a tear in her blog today over the positioning and naming blunders of the company that makes her favorite athletic shoe. MBT shoes are a classic example of a marketing myopia. It's a condition found in clients who are...

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Gr8 Baby Names? UGTBK!

The UK's Daily Mail reports "More parents using txt language to make their child's name gr8." Abbreviated versions of traditional Christian names are appearing on birth certificates along with "original" ways of spelling which even include punctuation marks. Anne has...

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The Ford Fiesta, Refried

The Ford Fiesta is making a return to the American market. Company officials announced that a new version of the Fiesta, which has been selling well in Europe, Asia and Latin America for the past 30 years, will be launched globally within the next two years. And in a...

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Jawbone Goes for the Jugular

We have long admired Jawbone headsets from Aliph, not only for their sleek design, but also for their spot-on brand name. Now Aliph is showing some additional positioning prowess with the introduction of the personality-driven Jawbone Limited Edition "Jawbone Loves...

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Apple’s Brand Fanaticism

Joshua Weinberg of Digital Life Consulting Group has a fascinating and thorough account of Apple's product launch methodology. Well worth a read. I was struck by Apple's laser focus on the smallest details and how much effort is put into maintaining consistency in...

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The Trail of Broken Memes

Sometime in the past few weeks, I read about an Intel processor platform codenamed "Skulltrail." This bad boy has two quad-core microprocessors, resulting in a total of EIGHT processing engines running at 3.2GHz on a 1600Mhz system bus. The result? Blinding speed and...

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Dark Roots

I'm always bemused by corporate America's faith in Latin roots--as if these meanings are burned into customers' DNA and, if people just thought about it (which they don't), they'd get what their brand name means. Microsoft is just the latest to fall into this trap....

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Learn to Speak Ikea Like a Native

Today's Guardian features a story that serves as a Rosetta stone unlocking the secrets of Ikea's cryptic naming system. Sofas, coffee tables, bookshelves, media storage and doorknobs are named after places in Sweden (Klippan, Malmö); beds, wardrobes and hall furniture...

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What’s next for domain names? (Pt 3)

Fortunately, the confusion over forgettable, unspellable domain names has helped usher in a new behavior that will, Google willing, cause a trend back to comprehensible brand names. In short, we're seeing less direct input of URLs into the address window of a browser,...

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Pollywog announces Best and Worst Brand Names of 2007

BEST BRAND NAMES OF 2007 1.Wii - With a name that sounds small and childish and makes an easy target for potty humor, the Nintendo “Wii” created a media firestorm when it was introduced. There were dire predictions of failure, and the brand name was nearly universally...

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Carefully couched terms

This week, the New York Times featured a story on the befuddlement among furniture executives (*) over what to name their furniture collections. Furniture styles no longer have clear-cut delineations--eclectic tastes and mix-and-match designs have blurred the lines...

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What’s next for domain names? (Pt 2)

The dotcom bubble burst in the late 90's, of course, and many of these generically named companies went down with it. (Interestingly, many of these generic names are now owned by branded companies. Pets.com, for example, was purchased by PetSmart.)In the year 2000,...

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