Continuing my recent “interactive” theme …

I answered a question on The Reis Report (AKA Reis’ Pieces) as I was passing yesterday and it started me thinking (again) about brand names.  Reis and daughter it appears are thinking of changing the name of their blog and were floating a few options.  Frankly, I am always reluctant to throw out a brandname unless it has massively negative equity (and I doubt that their’s does), but that wasn’t quite the point that intrigued me.

Brand names are a really tricky area and demand some expertise and a great deal of resource to get right if you are planning anything but a mom and pop business venture.  One danger area is how your brand translates to other markets and languages.  We all know about the Durex/Sellotape faux par and I recall an airline from the Isle of Man called Manx Airlines.  Those of you who are familiar with this part of the globe will know that “manx” is an ancient language, derived from Irish, that was spoken on the Isle of Man.  It also sounds like “mank” or “manky”, which if you are English you will also know is colloquial for smelly, messy, disgusting even, hence the airline’s problem.  I have also always wondered how Unilever managed to make such a success out of Ciff, a range of kitchen/bathroom cleaners with a name that sounds like a social disease (which is probably why it was originally called Jiff in the UK.  Heaven knows why they made that particular switch)!

Anyway, there must be a legion of products and brands hampered by their name and I thought it would be fun to highlight a few.  So let me know those that you have come across.  Yes its the silly season – so humour me!

Michael Weaver
September 4, 2008

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