The “Best” of Blandor

BlandorThe “Best” of Blandor is now available for the first time on his new, limited edition album called, “Old School.”.

This album has all of Blandor’s most forgetable tunes, including “Is That A Merkin On Your Shoulder?”, “Uniqa!, Uniqa!” and the timeless, “‘Avlimil’ is derived from the Latin av, meaning ‘ear’ and limi, meaning ‘waxy’. An added bonus is mil, Latin for ‘a whole bunch’, which suggests that the pill will appeal to many women the world over.”

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Dogfish Head Golden Shower

More frat boy humor naming, Dogfish Head Golden Shower Beer. They know their target. Ugh.

Reminds me of the time a friend said he wanted to make round (as in donut shaped) corndogs and sell them to drunk people at ball games. He wanted to call them “Round Hounds”. I immediately told him that “Dog Nuts” was a better play on donuts + hotdogs, and would have greater appeal to drunk people.

John Hessler never did launch that business, so “Dognuts”– that’s freebee number two, Samsung!

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Tell me why, bro?

WiBro? ‘Cause it’s funny. Samsung’s WiBro (wireless broadband) is one of those names that’s just as funny the millionth time you see it. Rare bird, a company with a sense of humor.

Or perhaps it’s just that they or some dim consultant they hired never thought of Wibbi (wireless broad band internet). That’s a freebee, Samsung. Run, don’t walk, to the trademark office.

Still, it’s better than a company that has lost its humanity and judgment, and demonstrates it via a name, a la Sprint and Embarq.

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Nintendo Wii. Brilliant!

Nintendo just announced that the name of their newest box, code named “Revolution”, will be Wii. And we think it is brilliant. Via CNN (just ‘cause they need the link):

Nintendo officially ditched its long-used codename for its next generation machine Thursday, revealing Wii as the final name for the product. Pronounced like “we” (or “whee,” I suppose), the name is meant to emphasize that “this console is for everyone,” Nintendo said in a flash video which introduced the name change…

…The unusual spelling is meant to symbolize both the unique controllers and the image of people gathering to play…

…The core gaming community is already making its opinion known – and it’s a resounding thumbs down.

“Here, I’ll do it: Worst console name ever,” wrote Chris Remo, an editor at, whose sentiments were immediately echoed by dozens of users. Forum members on, and other gaming sites expressed similar thoughts…

…The Wii will make its public debut a little less than two weeks from now at E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo), the annual trade show of the video game industry. At that same show, Sony will unveil more details about the PlayStation 3 and Microsoft will talk about its future plans for the Xbox 360.

So why announce the name now and not at the show?

By letting the gaming community vent now about the name, they will be less distracted as launch titles for the system are announced and initial reports about what it’s like to play the games begin to come in.

Also, said Kaplan, “We want people to understand our approach before we get to E3. [Also], it’s really noisy at E3 and I don’t think we would have had the chance to explain how we came to the name.”

Wii has got to be the most savvy name announcement we have seen in many years, and it could be the most viral name announcement since Yahoo! Sure, the buzz is a all negative ( News, Blogosphere) but that’s part of the beauty. Because we don’t believe that Wii is the real name. We think Nintendo is setting you all up to be Punk’d at E3, generating a massive amount of positive buzz when the scam and the real new name are announced.

Crazy? Here is the first clue, “By letting the gaming community vent now about the name, they will be less distracted as launch titles for the system are announced and initial reports about what it’s like to play the games begin to come in.” Allowing your audience time to vent is not SOP in a name announcement, and also telegraphs that Nintendo knows what a stinker this name would be. Second, it’s not possible to engineer a worse name for this product.

Third, and this is a big one, there are no trademarks registered by Nintendo nor by any dummy corp in the U.S or over there for Wii. This is unprecedented for Nintendo and it is not possible that his is an oversight. If Wii were the name, they would have registered it. In fact, no new trademarks have been registered by Nintendo at all. This leads us to conclude that Nintendo has in fact registered the real name under a dummy corp, which is SOP when trying to keep a name a secret prior to launch.

Given that their video game audience is the same demographic as Punk’d, the whole campaign is perversely elegant. Except of course for failing to make the illusion complete by registering a TM for Wii.

And yet, some “naming experts” just don’t seem to get it.

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The Buick Legionnaire

Colson Whitehead’s new novel has been out for several months, but we’ve avoided mentioning it, as we are not big fans of the horror genre. But the San Francisco Chronicle ran yet another story on the book yesterday, so we have decided to face our fears:

…”Apex Hides the Hurt,” shares much stylistically with his two previous prize-winning books (”The Intuitionist” and “John Henry Days”) — dark humor, imaginative tangents and puns galore — and a subject that is a smart meditation on these times…

…The central character of “Apex” doesn’t have a name, but he is a professional namer. The title of the book is taken from one of the namer’s most famous creations — the slogan for the bandage Apex — it “hides the hurt.” He’s ludicrously good at his job, but he doesn’t seem to care about that. He doesn’t seem to care about much; his tone is generally sour.

Naming, apparently, has failed to help him move beyond appearances.

That last sentence we can vouch for. Ouch.

After leaving his firm for unknown reasons, the namer goes to a small town with a naming crisis. It’s currently called Winthrop, and the town’s leaders are split on whether to keep it the same (as Councilman Albie Winthrop would prefer), change it to Freedom, which was what former slaves christened the town, or opt for the name that the namer’s former firm chose, New Prospera.

This is scary stuff, so scary that we couldn’t get the idiot in the pointed hat to come out from under his Davenport to comment.

Oy Vey League

The University of Pennsylvania has, perhaps unwittingly, made a move that has torn asunder the universal fabric we all rely upon when sorting out what’s what. You no longer have a foundation for logical, intuitive or comparative thought.

In the new paradigm, “The Di Vinci Code” is well-written and compelling, syphilitic nutria have not colonized the length of Brit Hume’s intestinal tract, and the Wharton School listed ONE AND ONLY ONE item as required reading for its product marketing course, “The Igor Naming Guide”.

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Gu Ge a go for Google

Via Business 2.0

Google may be the most recognized new 21st century brand in the West. But in China, its name was a dog. Surfers had been pronouncing the unfamiliar “Google” as “gougou” or “gugou,” among other variants – meaning “doggy” and “old hound.” An easier-to-pronounce name is just one of the reasons why rival Baidu has been eating Google’s lunch in China. That’s why the company tweaked its iconic name yesterday as it opened a new engineering center in Beijing. Google renamed itself “Gu Ge” (pronounced “goo-guh”), which China Daily elaborately translates as “song of the harvest of grain.” Google (Research) officials said the new name projected “the sense of a fruitful and productive search experience, in a poetic Chinese way.”

What a dim sum of thinking this is. Let them pronounce Google any way they want. Americans find it difficult to properly pronounce high-end names like Audi and Porsche, so each name has an Americanized pronunciation, no biggy.

And the “old dog” as a negative is a glaring red herring. Yahoo means “idiot” in English, Crossfire implies “violent death” and Gap means “missing, broken or incomplete”. The idea that consumers process names literally is false. They process them in the context of the experience and the brand.

And give the Chinese some credit, they know that Google is not a Chinese word with Chinese meanings! Wang Laboratories, one of the iconic pioneers of computing, was founded by Dr. An Wang in Lowell, Massachusetts. Certainly they could have changed their name to accommodate Americans that might be put off by a name like Wang. But there was no need. Everyone understood that Wang was a Chinese last name and was not being used in the sense of Johnson, an American last name. Even though Wang was an American company. The same holds true here.

The notion of splintering a brand name like Google into different names for different countries, based on the sophomoric understanding of naming demonstrated by their explanation, is truly absurd.

There are no new rules of naming.

BlandorSays Blandor the Imponderable: “‘Gu Ge’… which translates as ‘song of the harvest of grain…the sense of a fruitful and productive search experience, in a poetic Chinese way’, is MY SHCTICK!!! This is no lesser a transgression than if Gallagher were to wear Robin’s rainbow suspenders or if Mr. Williams were to smash swollen cucurbitaceae on stage! I demand redress!”

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Time to make the Dunkin’s

Slashfood reports that Dunkin’ Donuts may ditch the “Donut” in their name:

Personally, I think that this would be a huge mistake on the part of the company. Over the years, they have built a successful brand that has a tremendous amount of name recognition. Not only does such a move reflect poorly on the perception of the intelligence of the customers, but it is just plain silly. Burger King has not dropped the “burger” from its name, despite the fact that it offers sandwiches and salads. And why not? Because they are most famous for their burgers, just like Dunkin’ Donuts is most famous for their donuts.

I dunno, this could free them up for the co-branding coup of the decade, “Donuts on a string”.

There is a really campy (at least I hope it’s campy) T.V. spot on the Dunkin’ site. The jingle begins, “Things are what I like to do. Doing things is what I like to do. Things are what I like to do…”

Via Gary Peare.

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Strategic name development?

A Google search for naming consultants serves up both of the following “sponsored links”. The first is from a group of naming consultants that named their company, “Strategic Name Development”, abbreviated in the ad as “SND”:

SND Name Consulting
Exceptional names. Guaranteed.
Strategic and linguistically sound.

Underneath Strategic Name Development’s ad is an ad by competitor Namebase (displayed in rotation, so hit refresh if you don’t see it), which asks:

Name Too Descriptive?
Strategic Name Development
Namebase Naming Agency

No, it’s nothing nefarious by Namebase. There is no trademark infringement here. Namebase is free to use its competitors “name” in its ad in this fashion, because strategic name development is a generic phrase. Yes, Namebase’s ad is diluting the brand equity of Strategic Name Development’s name, and may be confusing folks looking for Strategic Name Development (the company, not the service), who then click on Namebase’s ad thinking they have found Strategic Name Development (again, the company). But it’s more likely that people who click on Namebase’s ad have found just what they were looking for, strategic name development (the service, not the company this time).

It’s possible that this part of the ad is a competitive jab by Namebase at Strategic Name Development: “Name Too Descriptive? Strategic Name Development”. But probably not. Namebase is not in the best position to play the “Name too descriptive?” card.

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