DIARY: I’m only a punter but...

I can’t be the only person who dislikes the made-up brand names designed to appeal to an international audience.

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.