22 October 2006

Nominative determinism

You only get one chance to make a first impression. So goes the Motivational Speaker's maxim, and it's true that the history of marketing is littered with the corpses of stillborn products whose failure seemed doomed by their names. Ideas cast into the waters of the free market with only a brick to keep them afloat. If you can remember Kashmir perfume or Enigma lager, the chances are there's a marketing man somewhere who'd rather you couldn't.

It's also true that the best products will endure despite names that would not now get into, let alone passed by, an agency's focus group. Whether Cilit Bang joins the Kit kats, Marmites and WD40s of this world will largely depend on its performance. And judging by the state of my shower doors, I'm banking on it going the same way as Svit home dry cleaning.

But sometimes the union of name and product seems so right, there's no way it could fail. Today I saw just such a coming-together in the title of a small business in Stratford. I don't anticipate a need for pre-mixed concrete from someone called James from east London. But I think it's almost worth the phone call just to congratulate him for giving his business a name that is marketing-as-poetry: Jim'll Mix It.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

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