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Pepperidge Farm's Naming Architecture:
One Smart Cookie


"Get Milk" and lift it high for Pepperidge Farm in honor of their branding smarts. Here is a look into how and why their cookie naming architecture works.

Below on the left are the names of their chocolate chunk varietals. In the right hand column, in mixed up order, are the distinguishing ingredients. See if you can match the names with the cookie variety:

Name   Variety
Sausalito   Oatmeal Raisin
Santa Cruz   Milk Chocolate w/ Walnuts
Tahoe   Dark Chocolate w/ Toffee and Pecans
Chesapeake   Dark Chocolate w/Pecans
Nantucket   Milk Chocolate w/ Macadamias
Sedona   Dark Chocolate
Montauk   White Chocolate/ Macadamias

The reason you can't guess the correct matchups is at the heart of why the names work so well. A less savvy marketing department would have pushed for a direct correlation between geography and ingredients. That would have resulted in the name "Kona" for a cookie with macadamias and milk chocolate, because that is where the exotic nut is grown.

Well, the milk chocolate with macadamia nut version is called "Sausalito," a foggy little peninsula that could never support the growth of macadamia trees. The same goes for the nippy mountain lake of "Tahoe," the name of the white chocolate and macadamia cookie.

So what is going on here?

Had Pepperidge Farm gone down the literal road, they would have named the cookies after towns and regions that best represent oatmeal, toffee, pecans, raisins, chocolate, and so on.

Instead, they chose the names for the positive images, evocations, and aspirations that they conjure from our collective consciousness.

That makes it "bigger" than the ingredients and "bigger" than cookies, much like Nike's "just do it" and Apple's "think different" elevate them beyond sneakers and computers. When a brand can rise above the goods and services they offer and create a loftier connection with their audience, they indeed have found a recipe for success.

Ok, here are the real matchups:

Name   Variety
Sausalito   Milk Chocolate w/ Macadamias
Santa Cruz   Oatmeal Raisin
Tahoe   White Chocolate/ Macadamias
Chesapeake   Dark Chocolate w/Pecans
Nantucket   Dark Chocolate
Sedona   Dark Chocolate w/ Toffee and Pecans
Montauk   Milk Chocolate w/ Walnuts

Next time, the naked truth behind "Oreo."


Further reading:

Roomba has perfect product name