Naming and Branding Agency

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Landorian Logic

With the unrelenting consistency of a Borscht Belt comic, naming and branding parody site Landor continues to go for laughs with a well worn schtick:

We developed the name Centravis to communicate the brand’s positioning as “the best of both worlds” and a balance between East and West

They’ll be here all week. Try the eel!

Blandor Says Blandor the Imponderable: That’s nothing. I remember when Fannie Brice, Paul Whiteman, George Jessel, Sophie Tucker and I first got into the name trade. We were all playing a two week gig in the Sour Cream Sierras when Sophie turns to Fannie and says:

” The new name, Enactus, was initially inspired by the idea of compounding “Entrepreneurial Action,” but it was created to transcend those roots and encompass the strong emotion that the brand evokes. The name encapsulates the intricate balance between youthful energy and a sophisticated stature that defines the organization. Enactus works as a call to action—it is an invitation to students to put their skills and education into action, and it is an inspiration for the socially responsible leaders of today to help cultivate the socially responsible leaders of tomorrow.”

Everybody plotzed!


More of Blandor’s rants here.

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Top secret Landor process document revealed

landor process

“Insert the proprietary Landor Naming Process Tool into the anal canal and twist until it grabs the membrane. Continue twisting another half turn, then steadily pull the proprietary Landor Naming Process Tool out of the canal. Extract 10 inches of membrane, tie the membrane off and cut.”

As with any process, the only true measure of success is what comes out the other end.

Blandor Says Blandor the Imponderable: “Oh deer! Perhaps I should butt out….No! My auricular has been opened, laid bare for all to observe! This time, no amount of blandiloquence will assuage this insolent corporate sabotage! And furthermore, we use a much larger mammal in our current work”
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Design Week Blasts Landor

Blasting Landor’s ridiculous work used to be a burden shouldered solely by Igor, but now the mainstream media has taken up the slack. Via Design Week:

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream – acquired by Unilever in 2000 – was a pioneer of faux-naif design, with its cartoon pictures of cows, clouds and daisies, smile-in-the-mind copy and child-like handwriting. Some see Innocent’s branding as an imitation of Pete & Johnny’s smoothies, which created the UK smoothie market in 1994 and adopted a Ben & Jerry’s, child-like style. Acquired by PepsiCo in 2005, the brand was renamed PJ Smoothies and relaunched with a cold, corporate look by Landor Associates, which failed to strike a chord with consumers.

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What’s a soul worth these days? Ask Anthony Shore

Via PRNewswire:

Landor Associates, one of the world’s leading strategic branding and design consultancies, today announced the appointment of Anthony Shore to Global Director, Naming & Writing. Shore was previously Creative Director of Naming & Writing at the San Francisco office of Landor.

In 2006, Shore was charged with establishing and leading Landor’s first naming-oriented Global Knowledge Sharing Team to optimize processes and resources worldwide. This resulted in a significant increase in naming assignments and an advancement of Landor’s capabilities in this area.

Charlie Wrench, Chief Executive Officer of Landor, said, “Over the course of Anthony’s career with Landor, he has shown nothing more than absolute passion for his work and an increasing determination to transform Landor’s worldwide naming network into the most accomplished and catalytic group in our industry. I trust that in just a few years time, this goal will be reached and Landor will be recognized as the world’s leading naming network.

When asked about his goals moving forward, Shore said, “Developing great names for a global audience requires a deep understanding of many local languages and cultures. It also requires exceptional creativity and a strategic brand focus. My vision is to maximize the individual creativity and collective effectiveness of the two dozen brilliant namers Landor Associates has worldwide. With fantastic naming work, we provide a fantastic return for our clients.

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Naming injuries on the rise

It happens every Spring, but it needn’t. With the upturn in weather, giddy branders rush outside and dive willy-nilly into rigorous exercise without much thought of safety or technique. The season’s first casualty is Harcourt Assessment, which has suffered a Learnia.

Naming Safety Tip # 1: When engaging in a naming exercise, ALWAYS LIFT WITH YOUR LEGS. This will greatly reduce the possibility of a Learnia.

Blandor Says Blandor the Imponderable: “I love a good Learnia, in fact it is a smashing result! Though it does sound derivative of my own work— little matter, imitation is flattery after all. Le Bon Mots!!!”

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Landor grows a nad bag

Lone Landor naphephiliac Anthony Shore gets snarky on a name, and deservedly so. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

A camel named Jake wore a bush hat with the company logo. Five elephants formed a reception committee. A sea lion called Odie reclined in a golf cart. The scene in Vallejo on Wednesday morning looked like a cross between Noah’s Ark and “Jurassic Park.”

It wasn’t. Instead, the occasion was a rebranding ritual: Marine World is now Discovery Kingdom…

…”It sounds like the bastard offspring of the Discovery Channel and the Magic Kingdom,” said Anthony Shore, creative director of naming and writing at Landor Associates, a strategic branding and design consultancy in San Francisco.

“Discovery is a word that’s used a lot in the world of entertainment and theme parks, and kingdom is also hardly unique in the category,” Shore said. “They now have their work cut out for them — to help create more distinction from all of those other discovery brands.”

Blandor Says Blandor the Imponderable: “My Willy hasn’t been this free in decades! Alas, I feel the pounding hooves of our PR Emergency Response Team in the corridor. Twas a brief dalliance… “

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Name Over?

Searching for bleeding edge naming news, we turn to that eternal source of befuddlement, the Landor naming portfolio. Landor proudly lays claim to a total of 18 naming jobs on their website, 16 of which date from 2001 or earlier. The remaining 2 are proving difficult to date:

Fillboard (TM filed 1998)

Astrium (not a gay bar – 2000)

Tality (again, not a gay bar – 2000)

Chancellor Academy (date unknown. only web reference to this name change resides here)

Certegy (2001)

Clarica (1999)

Exostar (2000)

EverCare (1999)

Advantix (TM filed 1995)

Durex (yes, the penis people – 1998)

Midea Group (“Formal registration and application of the brand” – 1981 )

ProNational Insurance (1998)

Spherion (2000)

Techint/Tenaris (2001)

Pactiv (1999)

Flipside (circa 2000, dead dotcom)

Uniqa (1999)

Wildlife Conservation Society - We can’t pin a date on this donkey, they had been calling themselves “WCS”, an acronym for Wildlife Conservation Society. Landor stepped in and “Landor urged the Wildlife Conservation Society to boldly and consistently embrace its full name, and forego the acronym.

We’re not ready to officially classify advising the Wildlife Conservation Society to call themselves the Wildlife Conservation Society as a naming job, but without it Landor is left with Chancelor Academy as the only possible naming job since ’01 in their portfolio, so we’ll let it slither in.

Blandor Says Blandor the Imponderable: “Fools! Naming is about quality, not quanity! I’ll stack my portfolio up against any random name generator software anytime! As for not being currant, it’s cranberry juice I need, and in copious quantities. Your ignorance has inflamed my condition”

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From the annals of the beast

Originally posted March 3, 2003

Gilt by association: Niagara and Avlimil

girl gateViagra’s successful sexual conquest of the male organ has spawned a flood of products designed to spread the joy in the opposite direction. The best-named Female Sexual Dysfunction remedy by far is Niagara – it’s powerful, wet, and funny, just like good sex. And it obviously parries well the thrust of the name “Viagra.”

But now there’s is a new girl in town, and she is taking a far more clinical approach to seduction. Her come-hither moniker? Avlimil. Sure it’s cold, inhuman and unmemorable, but then we’ve all “dated” someone like that.

Actually it’s part of a unique strategy erected to whet your appetite for Avlimil and elevate it above the others vying for your attention.

You see, Niagara and Avlimil are both herbal remedies. But while Niagara is proud and confident of who it is, Avlimil is trying to sound like “serious” prescription medicine. And it’s not just the name. In the TV commercial the fidgety female spokesperson – in a clear reference to Viagra – says, “Men have their little blue pill, and now we have ours.” The illusion is furthered in the packaging:

Avlimil

And what does the mysterious descriptor “(salvia rubus) tablets” mean? Salvia comes from the Latin salveo, meaning “I am well,” and an herb, Salvia, used for healing, while rubus is Latin for bramble or berry. It’s apothecary-speak for sage and raspberry leaf, Avlimil’s main ingredients. The whole campaign is well thought out and deftly executed to fully leverage the success and mind-share of Viagra.

Blandor Says Blandor the Imponderable: “‘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.”

How to name a product

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Indiana Jonesing

If you always had a hankerin’ to see Indiana, this could be the nudge that puts an end to your procrastinations. As if you needed another reason, Indiana now boasts more potential terrorist targets than any other state. We can see the Blandorian branding effort coming…“Indiana, Right on Target!”

Blandor Says Blandor the Imponderable: “It’s paramount that Indiana carpe diem while the fish is frying and the skillet is hot. As my putative father was fond of saying, ‘Wearing a merkin on your head is better than letting your bald spot reflect unwanted glare.’”
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125k per word

From the Baltimore Business Journal:

Though they weren’t invited to “Get In On It” themselves, many Baltimore advertising experts are keen on the city’s new slogan to be unveiled on Wednesday at the Hippodrome.

“Get In On It” is the city’s new tagline developed by San Francisco’s Landor Associates on behalf of the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association. The nine-month, $500,000 branding campaign was met with resistance from some members of the Baltimore advertising community who thought a local agency ought to have been selected to craft the campaign.

Though some advertising executives said that a hasty reading of the tagline might make it easily confused with an invitation to “Get It On,” many thought the slogan was provocative.

Yes, “Get it on” would have been provocative, but then the slogan would have cost 167k per word, which was more than Baltimore had budgeted.

Blandor Says Blandor the Imponderable: “B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!, B’more!”

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Blandor in trouble

Hope nobody at Blandor was working for equity.

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The “Best” of Blandor

Blandor The “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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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.

Blandor Says 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!”

More posts about China Google

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Is that a Merkin on your shoulder or are you just happy to see me?

There is no shortage of what the…? names adorning women’s brands. Sag Harbor, as the name of a women’s clothing brand aimed at women over 35 is one of the standard bearers. But the honoree for this year’s huevos grande award was never in doubt. It goes to upscale handbag brand name Lauren Merkin. Extra points for taking a low riding word like merkin and passing it right under our noses, lightly perfumed by the preceding “Lauren”.

Seriously though, how is it that these pricey purses, which everyone refers to as “a Merkin”, can keep their cachet given the negative meaning of the word? It’s because consumers are never, ever literalists. The “negative” meaning just gives people something to remember, to talk about, to have a laugh about. It never stands in the way of sales and is great word of mouth. The “negative” is really a positive.

If more companies were focused on keeping the cash register ringing, rather than on silly personal thoughts like “ I don’t want to be on the board of Merkin, let’s not name it that”, we’d have a far bigger pool of cost effective names out there.

More on the naming principal of of negativity can be read here.

Blandor Says Blandor the Imponderable: “That name puts the cod back in my codpiece. Jouissance! I’ve been sporting this merkin on my dome for years, perhaps now the cruel taunting will be at an end. The most uniquely unique name to ooze through the pipe since this prickly chestnut was passed.

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The return of Blandor

Under increasing pressure from our loyal reader, we have launched a search for one-time commentator “Blandor the Imponderable”. Last seen on these virtual pages more than two years ago, we agree that Blandor must return. We currently have agents scouring all the methadone clinics and binjo ditches on the south side of town, so he’s bound to turn up soon.

In the meantime, cast a bleary eye back on Blandor’s last guest appearances, where he prognosticated profoundly on the color scheme of Aeroflot and the naming and branding genius of Avlimil.

Send us any tips or sightings you have. We need him back pdq, as he alone is qualified to comment on the news that WebMD has changed its name. Via The Street.com:

“In choosing the name, we looked for a name that we could own and to which we could assign our own meaning and vision,” the company says. “Our new name, Emdeon, references our history as WebMD and formerly, Healtheon. It also suggests our grounding in e-healthcare.”

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How NOT to Name a Company or Product

Landor Founder, Walter Landor, Details Agency’s Naming Process:

Walter’s wise words are not just arcane academic theory, Landor’s process produces results:

“The new name, Enactus, was initially inspired by the idea of compounding “Entrepreneurial Action,” but it was created to transcend those roots and encompass the strong emotion that the brand evokes. The name encapsulates the intricate balance between youthful energy and a sophisticated stature that defines the organization.”

Full case study

It takes a Global Village:

“Our Hamburg and Asia Pacific offices collaborated on the name Magotan, alluding to the Latin word magnus and the kingly color magenta; tan suggests dominance…”

Full Case Study

“Landor developed the name Centravis, which directly communicates the central positioning of the brand as combining the best of all worlds. The suffix “vis” means force, or power in Latin, and underlines the ambitious and growth-oriented business strategy…”

Full Case Study.

Landor founder, Walter Landor gazing with disappointment at his half-son, Blandor.

Landor founder, Walter Landor gazing with disappointment at his half-son, Blandor.

Blandor Says Blandor the Imponderable: “I fondly recall Poppy and I attending the semi-annual wisdom tooth convention. As we sat on our haunches, grooming each other and eating our sack lunch of turkey biscotti and marshmallow toast, we would randomly jump up and shout, “Wottle up the bull throttle!”. We would then travel the 3 hours home, in complete silence, until our arrival at Mandible Station.”

More on the misspent journey of Blandor’s life.

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