Wednesday, 2 June 2010

A thorn by any other name would still be a prick.

If a junior copywriter had come to me, wet ears and all, with that name for a new social media website, i would have thrown the book on his face. Fortunately, that didn't happen with the branding copyguy IRL, and thence we have facebook.

Branding, or more specifically, naming of the brand is probably the most overrated, and subsequently the hardest aspect of all things advertising.

Clients come with products/services unworthy of the ppt files they have been conceived on. And then shoot point blank bullet points that are supposed to be attitributes of the brand. "It should sound innovative, trustworthy, unique." And of course, the ubiqitous "should evoke an emotional" crap.

Well, I've got two unbranded words for them. Shove it. First up, make a product that deserves these attributes, and it will sell itself. The function of advertising was never to make a substandard product successful.

But no. They will reiterate their stupidity with a million iterations. Do research. Dip stick. When what they should really be doing is stuff all the bullet points up a rectal abyss.

Facebook? Really? It sold on what it did, not what it was called. Twitter? Doesn't even sound attributical. More like an irritating chirp. But what it brought to the world was good enough for it to become the brand it is today. Blogger. Wordpress. Firefox. The online world is replete with dumbed down or downright absurd brand names. And all doing pretty well for themselves.

Take the most recognised names in real world. Coca Cola and Pepsi derive theirs from their ingredients (shitty ones at that). IBM is International Business Machines. GE is General Electric. Go figure how many ppt slides went into coming up with those ones. Microsoft has spewed dick jokes for decades now. MacDonalds, Ford are pronouns - names of their individual founders. KFC, Nokia get their names from the places they come from.

With the exception of Apple and Nike, none of the world's top brands seem to be over-thought exercises. And these two are successful today, again, because of what they have done with their products, not because some agency bestowed its brilliance on them. If Jobs had called the iPod the All White Music Player, it would still have been the phenomenon it proved to be.

Just name the goddamn thing something that isn't a cuss word or a slang for genital parts, and get on with it.

And don't even get me started on baselines. It's time clients get this straight. Baselines are pretentious, obnoxious word-strings created only to cater to their own pompous egos. 'Make.believe' is stupid. 'Yours is here' is I don't even begin to fathom what. 'Impossible is nothing' is Yoda-speak. But then, I won't think twice before buying a Sony television. Or a Dell Laptop. Or Adidas shoes - if only to kick some brand manager in his valued propositions.