A naming blog naming blog names

There is a dinghyload of great blogs out there, but only a few have names that play well off of the content and spirit of the material. Some of our favorite blog names, that also deliver great content:

Gawker may be the cream of the wheat. C’mon, say it in your best Edith Bunker voice.


Man Without Qualities

Blog Sisters: Where men can link, but they can’t touch

Rotten Tomatoes

The Smoking Gun

The Right To Remain Silent

Sadly, No


The Fat Guy

Travelling Shoes

Mother, May I Sleep With Treacher?

Head Heeb

Not a Fish (provincially speaking)


Boing Boing

Protein Wisdom

Sand In The Gears

Mr. Blonde’s Garage



Let us know what we’ve missed!

Gaul blather

The moon is waning gibbous AND it’s the last Monday of the month, which can only mean one thing. It’s time for the branding news from Belgium.

At this years big biotech conference, BIO 2OO5, Belgium unveiled a new campaign designed to help it woo investors called, “Chocolate, Beer…and Biotech”. This new campaign plays nicely off past Belgian efforts, “Chocolate, Beer and Nonferrous Metals”, “Carbonnades Flamandes, Unguents and Pickled Eel” and the well received “Chocolate, Beer, Both Are Here”.

While Belgium is anchoring its biotech message with tradition, expertise and a call back to craftsmanship, Singapore is hanging its hopes on “Biopolis”, an unintentionally terrifying depiction of a city post biowarfare.

And the Boy Scouts of Belgium is having trouble meeting its recruiting quota, as the government is making illegal their biggest draw, killing chickens. We’ll choke before making the obvious joke.

Naming and branding a new ‘nursing home’ model

Sometimes it all just comes together. Actually it never just comes together. But the confluence of hard work, contrarianism, and vision that is the Green House Project is a thing of beauty on each and every level. The folks at Green House have remade the stagnant and stagnating nursing home model into a positive celebration of life. And followed through with great naming and branding to boot. From their website:

The Green House is designed to be a home for eight to ten elders. It blends architecturally with neighboring homes, includes vibrant outdoor space, and utilizes aesthetically appealing interior features. The first Green House were designed by Richard McCarty, the McCarty Company, in Tupelo Mississippi. Richard and Dr. Thomas collaborated to create an environment that would be a home to the elders. The result was a house where each elder has a private living space with a private bathroom. Elder’s rooms receive high levels of sunlight and are situated around the hearth, an open kitchen and dining area. While adhering to all codes required by licensure, Green Houses looks and feels like a home, and contain few medical signposts…

…The Shahbaz or elder assistant is the direct care provider who prepares the meals and maintains the household in the Green House. Shahbazim are certified nursing assistants who have advanced training. They work as a self managed work team to complete assignments, scheduling and all of the work in the household. They are coached by a guide, usually the administrator and advised by a sage, who is a community dwelling volunteer elder. There is a clinical support team available to the elders and the Shahbazim. The clinical team visits the house to provide skilled nursing and therapy.

The word Green House is nicely repurposed to reflect the idea of individual houses rather than the long-corridored, anonymous, institutional model. And of course a greenhouse is a protected, nurturing, life-affirming environment.

Let’s also note that the residents are participants in Green House Project, not residents of something called Green House. Calling it Green House Project helps reinforce the idea of mind-share ownership for the residents, and the term “Project” conveys an ongoing quest, a sense of continual experimentation. Nicely done.

The term “Shahbaz” is in place to signal that this is an entirely new model, free from the constraints of the pervasive system. “Shahbaz” demonstrates rather than explains that break and as any Shahbaz will attest, is a self-propelled conversation starter.

“Shahbaz” is a Persian term for “royal falcon”, and is the name of a helpful bird in a short story written by Green House founder Dr. Thomas. The word’s definition is random in this application, but its quality of mystery is what makes it well chosen to define a new concept and to prompt people to constantly ask, “What’s a Shahbaz?”

Getting the public interested enough to lean forward and ask questions, enabling you to engage them in a conversation, is always a big win.

One more thing they got right is the collateral surrounding the Green House identity, where, thank goodness, you won’t find the color green.

Igor looking for new lab

We are looking to move Igor from the center of San Francisco out to the pricier, waterier fringe. If you are a creative agency in S.F. with some space to let, and you are close to the Embarcadero, give us a call or drop us a line. We’re interested in bunking with an advertising or identity firm, as those are the services our clients need post naming. And if there is one thing we have learned in life, it’s that when a water view is an option, take it.

A Norse is a Norse, of course, of course

Which may explain why they describe everything twice. We give you the new Wayfinder Navigator, from the funny Finns at Nokia:

Nokia today added GPS functionality to its handset range with the introduction of a Navigation Pack comprising a 6630 smartphone, a wireless GPS module and the Wayfinder Navigator application.

“Location-based services are among the top consumer choices for new mobile applications,” said Kirsi Kokko, director for smartphone and business solutions at Nokia.

Jonas Sellergren, vice president of product management at Wayfinder Systems, added: “The Wayfinder Navigator in a Nokia smartphone delivers a complete navigation experience that was primarily built into cars.”

Nokia 6630 smartphone users with GPRS can see their position and the easiest route to their destination on a digital map, provided by Tele Atlas.

Once installed Wayfinder’s map selection, which currently covers Western Europe, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Greece, is ready for use.

Not only has Nokia embraced a descriptive naming strategy for the new product, they’re double dipping. Only when you fully appreciate the layers of different meanings that “Wayfinder” and “Navigator” bring to the table, can you truly bask in the brilliance of smushing them together.

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Joanie loves Karachi

For all of you press agents out there complaining that times are tough, try writing a press release promoting tourism from India to Pakistan. That’s just what the earnest scribbler tasked with writing this release was up against. Our favorite line is the inspirational conclusion:

Clearly, there are far worse places in the world to take a holiday!


Pandora’s Boxers

“How’s yer Father’s Day” is a nice play on words this Father’s Day eve, and a nice gift idea as well. From Brand Republic

LONDON – Ann Summers is running a risqué Father’s Day promotion directed at mothers who buy their partner a present on behalf of their children.

Called “How’s yer Father’s Day“, the activity is based on the assumption that many mothers buy socks and jumpers on behalf of their young children.

According to its own research, the retailer claims 99% of fathers would rather have sex than a traditional Father’s Day present.

Products such as massage oil will be ticketed with the line ‘Sex not socks.’ The window display will also be used to highlight the promotion.

The retailer is aiming to persuade women to buy something sexy for themselves rather than “boring underwear” for their husband.

All well and good to be a dad in London. Here in the States, the state of Pandora’s boxers is a bit too literal. Via NBC

Ladies, if you are looking for bargains, you might be looking in the wrong department.

“I can go to the men’s side and actually see better sales on their walls than when I go to the women’s side,” one woman said.

“I wear men’s underwear. Well, they come three in a pack. You can’t find that in women’s underwear,” said another woman.

Hey Victoria! Throw us guys a bone here and start selling friggin’ three-packs will ya? Or there will be far fewer fathers next year.

Have a good one.

Quorn, The Other Swap Meat

In a bid to up the appeal of their menu, McDonalds U.K. is now offering the Quorn Premiere, a fermented fungus fillet. From the Telegraph:

Quorn was born out of nutritionists’ fears in the early 1960s that rapid population growth might result in global protein shortages. As a result, scientists began looking for plant-based protein foods and, in 1967, the discovery of a fungus in a North Yorkshire soil sample provided the unlikely solution.

The pharmaceutical arm of ICI, now Astrazeneca, and food producer RHM jointly started experiments on this “mycoprotein”.

By 1985, it was approved by the authorities for food use and the next year was launched under the name Quorn.

Low in fat and carbohydrate and high in protein and fibre, it is now grown in 155,000 litre fermenters and used as a “meat alternative” in sausages, burgers, mince. McDonald’s has even launched a Quorn Premiere – a Quorn fillet in a bun.

The obvious movie promotional tie-in here would be with the re-release of Soylent Green, a film born out of the same protein shortage fears.

Can the “Carl’s Junior Quorn Star” be far behind? Can’t wait for the commercial.

A perfect poultry product name

DOO DOOWhen companies get a product name just right, when they pick the absolute best name possible, it’s like poultry in motion. From the New Hampshire Business Review:

Like many visionaries, John Packard, founder and president of Portsmouth-based Pure Barnyard, was looking for a better way to do something — in this case, fertilize his lawn without worrying about his grandchildren playing on the grass and chemical run off into the ocean near his home.

He was visiting the Holland office of his other business, Gemini Valve, when his epiphany came in the form of a chicken. Much of Holland is below sea level, so runoff of manure is a severe issue there. According to Packard, the Dutch had developed a process of eliminating most groundwater contamination by refining chicken manure.

“I went to the processing facility that had eggs coming out one end and packaged fertilizer out the other,” quipped Packard.

In 1998, he formed Pure Barnyard and began importing the product from Holland, calling it “Cockadoodle Doo.” He began selling in select stores around Boston “just to see if there was a market. There was indeed a market.”…

…Two years ago, Pure Barnyard developed a relationship with Perdue Farms Inc., which has one billion chickens at its facility in Maryland — the highest concentration of chickens in the world, said Packard. “Each chicken produces about 70 pounds of raw waste a year. Times one billion — that’s a lot of manure,” he said.

Which makes it perfectly at home on this blog. Maryland does indeed have the biggest concentration of chickens in the world, but just barely. Last year’s competition for the title was fierce, and they eeked out a squeaker. This year’s contest is a barn burner that’s only half over. “Old Number Two“, Maryland’s pluckiest competitor, is laying eggs at a world class pace, so don’t touch that dial. One of ‘ems gotta crack.

Dustin Johnson shaking up Boston & Modernista

No, “Dustin Johnson” is not a slang term for masturbation, though some consider him to be a metaphor. Dustin is the media guru who for years ran up the plumbing bill here in our office. He’s now blowing smoke from the head of the media choo-choo at one of our favorite agencies, Modernista, in Boston. While Dustin’s fleeing San Francisco is our loss, the pain will eventually subside. In Boston, the swelling is just beginning. Good luck Dustin! And good luck Boston.

Be Anonymous everywhere you go, John Doe

From Nationmaster’s John Doe page (Nationmaster – Where Stats Come Alive!) comes the names of Mr. and Ms. Anonymous all over the world:

Australia Fred Nurk, Joe Farnarkle
Austria Hans Meier, Hans Maier, Hans Mayer, Herr und Frau Österreicher
Belgium Jan Janssen, Piet Pietersen
Brazil Beltrano, Ciclano, Fulano, Zé ninguém, João da Silva, Zé da Silva, João Ninguém, Maria Ninguém
Canada G. Raymond
China 陈小明 (Mandarin: Chen Xiao Ming / Cantonese: Chan Siu Ming)
Colombia Fulano de Tal, Pepito Pérez;
Croatia Ivan Horvat, Pero Perić
Czech Republic Jan Novák, Karel Vomáčka
Denmark Morten Menigmand
Faroe Islands Miðalhampamaður
Finland Matti and Maija Meikäläinen
France Jean Dupont, Monsieur Durand
Germany Max and Erika Mustermann, Lieschen Müller, Otto Normalverbraucher
Hungary Gipsz Jakab , Kovács János
Indonesia Si Polan
Iceland Meðal-Jón, Meðal-Jóna, Jón Jónsson, Jóna Jónsdóttir
Republic of Ireland Seán and Síle Citizen
Israel Israel Israeli ישראל ישראלי and also Ploni פלוני and Almoni (as a party to Ploni)
Italy Mario Rossi
Japan 名無しの権兵衛 (Nanashi no Gonbei)
Korea 홍길동 (Hong, Gil-dong)
Latvia Jānis Bērziņš
Lithuania Jonas Jonaitis, Petras Petraitis
Mexico Juan Pérez
Malaysia Si Anu, Si Polan, Si Polan Bin Si Polan
Malta Joe Borg
Netherlands a defendant is referred to with first name and initial, e.g. “Mohamed B.“; Jan Modaal is approximately the Joneses, in particular referring to average wealth
Norway Ola and Kari Nordmann
Peru Juan Pérez, Fulano de Tal, Zutano, Mengano
Philippines Juan dela Cruz
Poland Jan Kowalski, Jan Nowak (but in legal/police work person unknown is NN)
Portugal Zé Ninguém
Romania Necunoscut
Russia Ivanov, Petrov and Sidorov, Vasya Pupkin, Vasya Tapochkin
Serbia and Montenegro Petar Petrovic
Slovenia Janez Novak
South Africa Koos van der Merwe
Spain Pedro Perez, Fulano, Mengano, Zutano
Sweden Medel-Svensson, Sven Svensson
Switzerland Herr und Frau Schweizer, Hans Meier, Hans Mustermann
Thailand Somchai, Sommai, Nai-Gor
United Kingdom Fred Bloggs or Joe Bloggs, John Smith
Uruguay Fulano, Mengano; Juan Perez
USA John Doe, Jane Doe, John Q. Public, Joe Blow, Joe Sixpack, Sally Sixpack, John Smith (which has largely been replaced with John Doe)
Vietnam Nguoi La

The Other Pink Meat

The Anchorage Daily News reports a new food branding initiative:

While most fishing regions of the state are promoting their own brands of red and king salmon, a Kodiak group is singing the praises of pinks.

Besides trying to increase markets for locally caught silver salmon, the Kodiak Brand and Marketing Committee has been striving to create high-end markets for pinks.

“The pink project is something new and that doesn’t even exist in the domestic market right now,” said marketing director Leslie Smith. All of the fish are iced, bled and otherwise handled according to the strict Star of Kodiak quality-certification program, she said.

If only the pink project had a viral, catchy tagline….

Fulling the wool over your eyes: new product name

There is a new product in the hair gain game, and its name is Brow Gain. As reported in Newsday:

In Beverly Hills, they call Damone Roberts the eyebrow king. Now the rest of the world gets to see what the fuss is all about. Roberts has just come out with a line of products to whip unruly brows into shape. There’s a pencil, natch, that comes in colors like Latte and Beverly Hills Blonde ($18 each), a highlighter in Gold Digger and Bling Bling ($20 each), along with several shadows, brushes and his own tweezers.

The most intriguing product, though, is Brow Gain, described by the personable Roberts as Rogaine for the brows. He says that, with six to eight weeks of use, the cream will create fuller brows and actually stimulate regrowth to correct overplucking. It’s $45, but if the stuff actually works, a lot of us will pay gladly. It’s all available at www.damoneroberts.com.

But even the eyebrow king would be throne for a loss at this next hair raiser, a clipping from the South Africa Star that we just couldn’t help calling …… Hell Toupee:

Los Angeles – An Oregon member of the Hair Club for Men has accused the company of failing to warn him during monthly visits to reglue his hairpiece that a malignant tumour was developing on his scalp.

James Milner says no one but Hair Club employees saw his scalp during the 10 years he was a member, but none of them told him “of the black, expanding growth” on his scalp, according to a lawsuit filed last week in Portland.

Milner finally saw the tumour after insisting that a Hair Club employee remove the hairpiece so that he could point out the source of a painful rash.

Milner had the tumour removed in May last year. The lawsuit seeks more than $450 000 (about R2,7-million) in compensation.

Makes you think, don’t it? The consequence of vanity, the fragility of life, hair today …

Photo finish: new Hope for cooler corporate photography

When is a corporate photo not a corporate photo? When it’s an effective and compelling branding, marketing and PR vehicle. One way to take a normally banal bit of collateral and amp-up its efficacy is to jettison those same old same old corporate photos of your staff and replace them with photos that people will actually engage with, that help to define your brand attitudinally and emotionally. In order to pull this off, you need the right photographer.

Jon Hope photography

We just had a fantastic experience with San Francisco-based photographer Jon Hope who came to Igor headquarters to take some people shots for an article in the July edition of Arrive magazine. Check out his portfolio and ask yourself, “Is our corporate photography working hard enough?”