The Electric Commentary

Monday, July 26, 2004

Finding the Perfect Name for your Product

It's a big stupid business.

In 2002 PepsiCo. Inc. was looking for a "slick, fashion-forward name for its new, ice-blue cola." PepsiCo.'s marketers consulted Catchword, an Oakland, California, marketing firm "whose exclusive niche is engineering product names and pithy tag lines." The deal must have happened something like this:

PepsiCo.: We have a new product and would like your help in developing a name for it. It's pretty much just like Pepsi but its blue. We're "looking to target hip young people - skate-punk kids." We'd like something that is sort of "in-your-face" Something that is "cool-sounding."

Catchword: We'll get started on it right away.

After several weeks on the beach or at the golf course or in front of the television Catchword contacts PepsiCo. with its answer.

Catchword: We've tested out 1500 different names with consumers and think we've found a winner. How about Pepsi Blue?

PepsiCo.: Brilliant! Your service has been more than worth the several million dollars you charge. We'll just pass that cost on to the consumers that will be so eager to by our new product with its "cool-sounding" new name.

What's funny about this article is that it discusses the current trend of businesses looking for "unique, fanciful, almost impressionistic names", like Verizon or Altria or Viagra instead of descriptive names such as International Business Machines or General Electric. And this gives us Pepsi Blue.

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