Udderly confusing

The children’s film & television series “Barnyard”, made a strange branding choice when developing the appearance of their characters. The main characters are cows, both male and female.

namingWhy do characters named Ben and Otis, voiced by Sam Elliot and Kevin James, sport udders??? In this film, cows of both genders do. The protagonist “Otis” is pictured here.

We can understand why they might not want to equip the bulls with their actual equipment, but why transgender them? Why not just do a Barbie and Ken-like omission on the bulls?

We don’t expect a kid’s film like this to be educational, just not bizarrely dis-informational.

Let’s stop feeding the fire. There are too many people out there trying to milk a bull as it is. No wonder they are turning purple.

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Igor in today’s “Ward’s Auto”

Cerberus Instinct Letter-Perfect, by Eric Mayne February 18th, 2011

Like me, I’m sure you’ve wondered why Chrysler broke with convention by retaining “LX” as the codename for its new-generation fullsize car platform.

A Chrysler insider recently spells it out for me.

“This vehicle should have been reclassified as LY,” he says of the ‘11 Chrysler 300, the disputed platform’s flagship. “The original vision was that it would gravitate to LY.”

So what happened?

“There was an emotional attachment to LX with our past management, which was Cerberus,” the insider explains. “They wanted to stay with LX.”

Understandable. Especially because LX earned widespread industry acclaim.

It was the foundation of the ‘05 300, a car that rejuvenated American design. Why not keep the original designation? What could happen?

“Frankly, it’s been wreaking havoc with us internally because all of our production-control systems and everything,” the insider says. “It’s been very difficult.”

Separating the old program from the new required “shadow systems and all sorts of crazy things,” he adds.

His disdain for Cerberus is glaring. Like a typo on resume.

But the private-equity firm wasn’t completely wrong to write off the time-honored naming protocol. So suggests California-based branding guru Steve Manning.

“‘X’ is associated with anything that’s experimental or extra,” says Manning, co-founder of Igor, a leading corporate-naming consultancy.

Not to mention sexy, “as in triple-X,” he adds.

“It’s a very uncommon letter in the alphabet so it tends to stand out and has a certain look and sound. Everybody uses ‘X.’ It has a certain cool factor.”

And ‘L’ often is associated with luxury, Manning reminds.

Nothing wrong with that. But what does ‘LY’ communicate?

“’LY is no good,” he says. “‘Y’ is just deadly. Combined with ‘L,’ it’s just something that you put at the end of a word. Like slowly. There’s nothing going on with ‘LY.’”

Forget that platform codes have no market value. Cerberus did at least one thing right.

Give it an ‘E’ for effort.

Design Defect

Which is funnier? This parody (?) of a brand identity naming  firm like Landor / Interbrand designing a traffic “Stop” sign:

Or the case study from Landor’s own website, which details the naming and logo work they did for the merger of Fedex and Kinkos. The name Landor landed on, was of course Fedex Kinkos. The rationale:

Guided by brand strategy and research insights, Landor developed a creative name and identity solution that leverages the equity of both brands. The new brand identity, informed by the historical strengths of both companies, powerfully redefines the future of the business services marketplace.

But the funinest bit is when Landor explains the very specifc meanings they believe common colors communicate:

The identity contains a colorful brand icon that represents the collection of FedEx services available at the new retail locations – orange for the time-definite global express shipping services, green for the day-definite ground shipping services, and blue for the retail business service centers. At the heart of the icon, where the three colors converge, is purple, which symbolizes the can-do spirit shared by all FedEx companies.

Interestingly, design firms differ on what each color means.

Igor’s latest naming work, Whoop, launches.

Formally called “Xosphere”, they came to us for a re-name. From the Whoop site:

Whoop makes it easy for every company, agency or individual to create, publish and share rich mobile content to almost every mobile device. Not just text, but pictures, videos and, well, everything imaginable for mobile entertainment, marketing, communications, commerce and social networking. With Whoop, you can share your stuff with more than 3.5 billion phones in every country on the planet.

Whoop. Everything mobile.

Did we mention we named Whoop? O.K., we are done here.