I can’t be the only person who dislikes the made-up brand names designed
to appeal to an international audience.
A whole industry has been built around this. It’s full, no doubt, of
worthy individuals, the branding boffins, conscientiously programing
computers to generate another batch of random combinations of five, six
and seven letters in the hope that one of them will bea name that the
world can pronounce.
‘Remember, team, what we want is a name that can be registered all over
the world and will keep the lawyers busy for months. A name that the
world will find full of hidden meaning. Well, might, anyway. A name, in
fact, that the client will be unable to dislike - something like
The car companies are probably the worst. Frontera, Terrano, Mondeo,
Vectra. Find something that sounds vaguely like a real word. Put a vowel
on the end and you’ll have a youthful, vaguely Mediterranean name which
will excite buyers across the world. Crapola, actually. This punter has
a theory. Most would say that the rampant success of the Japanese
industry has happened in spite of the weird and wonderful ‘Western’ mess
they’ve used. However, this seems to have got GM, Ford and the mass-
market Europeans well and truly confused. They now think that you have
to have a silly name to succeed.
But what’s wrong with a real name? Why should the badge on my car show
the world that I’m happy to settle for an artificial image. Sorry,
‘imago’. These names have no heritage and, frankly, they don’t give a
damn. They’re after instant image. And, of course, they’re disposable.
Real cars, of course, don’t need artificial names. Cars that come with
built-in credibility have numbers: 5, 325, 9000, 911. Or use proper
names: Mulsanne (who? - ed), Carrera, Daytona, Cinquecento.
The car boys may be the worst culprits, but they’re not the only ones.
Computers, for example, already rival them for the sheer international
meaninglessness of their names and they add an extra dimension: tech-
twaddle. And as for ‘fragrances’ - ugh. It’s only a matter of time
before the rot spreads further.
What this punter wants is a campaign for real names: the Herald, the
Minor, the Guilietta and the Floride; the Spectrum and the ZX81; Old
Spice and No 5.
Send your rant, in 400 words, to Stefano Hatfield, 174 Hammersmith Road,
London W6 7JP.