Monday, April 28, 2008

Raw Modesy, Unharmed Donkeys, Con Men, and other strange naming firm anagrams

One of our favorite websites for wordplay is the Internet Anagram Server. Give it a whirl and see what your name spells when you jumble the letters. (For instance, "Alexandra Watkins" = "An Award In Sex Talk" and "Drink A Sealant Wax.") We ran the name "Eat My Words" through and here's what we found...

Eat My Words =

Meaty Words
Sweaty Dorm
Raw Modesty
Two’s Dreamy
Draw My Toes
Steady Worm
Tawdry Some
Wet Army Sod
Do Sew My Rat
Rowdy Meats
Wordy Teams
Steamy Word
Drowsy Meat
To Wry Dames
Eat My Sword
Store My Wad

Of course we can't just embarrass ourselves. Here are some anagrams of some of our favorite naming firms:

The Naming Company =
Nymphomaniac Gent
A Hundred Monkeys =
Unharmed Donkeys
Igor International =
Rotate Nail In Groin
Landor =
No Lard
Catchword Branding =
Drab Chanting Crowd
Metaphor =
To Hamper
Master McNeil Inc =
Immanent Circles
Mnemonic =
I’m Con Men
Interbrand = Drab Intern

Photo of unharmed donkeys by Alexandra from her trip to Tanzania in 2004.

What's the (exclamation) point, SOLUT!

Logo Granted, this company is not well known, or particularly interesting, but we can't pass up a bad name when we run across it. In our sights today is Duracorp (hello 1950's!!) who have announced that they are changing their name, logo and tagline, all of which is included in one graphic on the right.
Some comments about the new name "SOLUT!".

Erik O’Neil, Vice President of Sales, says “only our name has changed to better reflect the brand essence of our growing company, and we are committed to responding quickly to the packaging needs of our customers with creative solutions” OK, now how is that?!!! We are of the opinion that reasons for name changes have to make sense and not be some blah blah blah MBA speak about brand essence. How about "Duracorp frankly just bored us to death and made us sound like a 1950's company out of a business management textbook, and the best thing we could come up with unfortunately was SOLUT!."

The exclamation mark in both the name and the tagline? Why is that? Are we supposed to be excited about buying your
thermoformed paper products ? Does your receptionist answer the phone with an loud cheerleaderish "SOLUT!"? Leaving aside the unnecessary exclamation mark in the name, it becomes truly superfluous in the tagline (see SOLUT!ONS) unless it is a clue to where the hell the word SOLUT! came from. In fact, the press release announcing the new name says "the new name is derived from the word ‘solutions’, and better reflects the core essence of the Company—responding quickly to provide creative solutions for the packaging needs of its customers." Here and we thought thermoformed paper products was the core essence of the company. How about THERMO! or PROD!

Compounding the artificial excitement is the all caps name. As we know, USING ALL CAPS IS LIKE YELLING, SO NOW WE ARE YELLING THE NAME OF THE COMPANY EXCITEDLY --SOLUT!

Let's talk about the tagline, also in all caps, FORMING SUSTAINABLE SOLUT!ONS. The only thing missing is an exclamation point at the end. Well, that's not the only thing missing. It's also missing the mark. The company claims the new tagline is "
to focus attention on its distinctive abilities to form uniquely designed paper based packaging solutions." zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz How about, Not your mama's thermoformed paper products!, or something that elicits some emotion or inspiration.

Watch for the letter from V&S Vin & Sprit Aktiebolag's counsel (maker's of Absolut Vodka ), they are trademark protection pit bulls that go after anything sounding remotely like their name regardless of what your goods or services are.

We dislike the injudicious use of exclamation points. We DO enjoy the judicious use of them in, let's say, the Bloom logo though. In a search of the USPTO database, we found 35,562 marks using !, 822 using !!, 355 using !!!, 10 using !!!!, 4 using !!!!!, 3 using !!!!!! and 2 using !!!!!!!!. Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, does SOLUT! pass the Eat My Words Scratch Test?

SCRATCH - scratch if it has any of these deal-breakers
Spelling-challenged - YES !
Copycat – similar to competitor's names - Not that we can tell
Random – disconnected from brand - YES!, although they did try!
Annoying – hidden meaning, forced - YES!
Tame – flat, uninspired - YES! Despite the exclamation!!!!!!
Curse of Knowledge –No, it's just cursed!!
Hard-to-pronounce -Not really, but once you pronounce you are still in the dark!!!!!

So, if nailing just one of these is a deal-breaker, hitting on as many of these mistake makes it an instant inductee into the Name Shame Hall of Fame and a leading contender for our Head Scratcher of the Year contest.

TO VENT: Send your contender(s) for The Name Shame Hall of Fame to nameshame @ eatmywords dot com. (We won’t sell your email address to spammers, we promise.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Oriental Mildew - a taste of Zimbabwe

If you have ever sucked down a mouthful of African river water like I did in Zimbabwe, where I nearly drowned in the Zambezi and ended up in Zambia, you will be delighted to know that that delicious taste has now been replicated (or at least it sounds like it has) in a new Zimbabwe juice brand, ORIENTAL MILDEW. The product has already flooded most of the retail outlets in Harare where it is high demand. (Okay. And Mugabe won the last election.) I can't track down a photograph of the Oriental Mildew bottle, but the taste sounds so hideous that surely dictator Mugabe's mug graces the packaging. I know all of this sounds adventurous and exciting, but by all means, do not go to Zimbabwe, which from what I've seen is the most corrupt country on the planet. If you must see Victoria Falls on your way to the Okavango Delta, do it from the kinder, gentler Zambian side. And if you just want to live vicariously through me, here are photos of the mighty Vic Falls, the churning Zambezi below and what it looks like when your raft flips over on top of you in a class 4 rapid.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Make Love, Not Landfill

Americans are currently adding 30 million PET water bottles to our nation's landfills – everyday! To help get the message out, Eat My Words created this new slogan for our client SIGG, makers of the coolest water bottles on the planet. (See next post...)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Our "Red Alert" SIGG bottle featured on The Today Show

Siggtodaysc Picture_1
Anyone who has ever been to a party at Eat My Words gets a super cool SIGG bottle as a party favor. SIGG was featured in TIME magazine's "The Most Amazing Inventions of 2005" – the recognition comes a little late because SIGG has been around nearly 100 years – but better late than never, right? We just found out our "Red Alert" SIGG was on the Today Show, and when we went to SIGG's press page to snatch a photo, we saw that SIGG was on the Today Show again, THIS WEEK. Hottie Matt Lauer interviewed author, David Bach of "Go Green, Live Rich" about some ways to go green and save green. His recommendations included owning SIGG bottles, which were featured on the show alongside other great green products. Who knew bottled water cost more than 2,500 times that of tap water. Check out more colorful SIGG bottles named by Eat My Words.

Compare the names of 30 naming firms in one little PDF.

E1207762856 Any naming firm can dazzle you with impressive lists of clients, slick presentations and puffed up mumbo jumbo about their patent-pending Verbal Identity Engineering process. But when it comes down to it, you're not hiring a naming firm for all the hoo-ha - you're hiring them to create the perfect name. For your convenience (and our amusement), we have compiled an anthology of names created by nearly 30 naming firms from ABC Namebank to Zenmark. This apples-to-apples comparison against Eat My Words is enlightening, entertaining and for the most part, totally horrifying. And as devilish as we are, we promise we did not pepper the list with fake names - these are straight from the websites of the respective naming firms. Don't wait another minute, download the PDF and see who can take credit for such doozies as Itzakadoozie, Hyyrus, Encysive, Opteum, Sageo, Piralta, and Phyve.

An enlightened name change.

Hg_logo_tmHeliumReport was a website devoted to helping millionaires take the guesswork out of high-end purchases (fractional jet, anyone?). They came to us for a new name that was more reflective of their business and affluent audience. The final contenders were The Gravy (alluding to the good life and rich information) and Halogen Guides (illuminating information and shedding light on luxury purchases). The client chose Halogen Guides, a smooth and natural transition from HeliumReport. Halogen maintains the continuity of an element from the periodic table, starts with the same letter, yet is much more sophisticated and deeper in meaning and wordplay. The tagline we developed, "Your life. Well spent." is emotional, evocative and empowering.

How to get more mileage out of your brand name

BigemwbaglegsMost names get slapped on a product, website or business card and the buck stops there. But you can get a lot more mileage and ROI out of a name if it has long legs. A name with legs is rich in wordplay, lends itself to brand extensions, has an unlimited shelf life, can grow with the brand, and never gets dated (like eHarmony or iMotors). One name with great legs is Cake Financial, the leading online social network for investing. created Cake to reflect what we see as their biggest benefit: "easy money." Here are some of ways that Cake has extended the name throughout the brand:
The Slice is the name of their weekly video show
The Cakedex is the top investor's performance index
The Cake "Take" is their system of rating stocks
The Cakeateria is the employee snack room
Citizen Cake
was the the launch party venue

Does your name have legs and the 4 other must-have qualities of a powerful brand name? Take the Eat My Words' SMILE & SCRATCH Test™ and find out.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

How your name can generate buzz and bacon

E1207684399 In today's freaky economy, advertising budgets are facing extinction and marketing dollars are being stretched like carnival taffy. Your name has to do more, say more, and work harder than ever before. Without a massive ad campaign to drill it in (think: Head On), consumers cannot remember brand names that are tame, tired, copycat, spelling-challenged, or have hidden meanings. Now more than ever, it's critical that your name is memorable, meaningful, sticky, has legs, speaks volumes, and can pay for itself. You know you have a winning name with ROI when it...

Generates buzz without spending advertising dollars

Is instantly likeable, creating affinity for your brand

Has strong differentiation for brand-recognition

Emotionally connects with your target, inspiring loyalty

Stays fresh and vibrant, never becomes dated

Positions you as a trendsetter, increasing your credibility

Is rich in wordplay, allowing for brand extensions while retaining the name's original charm

Can be monetized through merchandise & licensing, with people paying you to advertise your brand

Learn more about how a powerful name can cut the fat and bring home the bacon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Eat My Words featured in

April 7, 2008

Small, But Spunky
Create an inspiring and functional office when space is limited.

By Jennifer Grzeskowiak

"If you have a creative business, what better way to showcase your creativity than with your office?" asks Alexandra Watkins, owner of Eat My Words, a naming firm in San Francisco. Watkins' 900-square-foot work space is so creative, in fact, that when clients from Del Monte walked into the space, they said they had to work with her. Among other things, the clients saw a diner-style booth functioning as a desk and conference room table, a pink refrigerator used as a bookcase, and a sizable collection of hot sauce bottles and floaty pens.

While the office provides plenty of visual interest that reflects Watkins' personality, it's also highly functional. The booth seats lift up for storage, and a custom credenza houses a printer, laptop, books, office supplies and paper. Watkins also had a less-than-3-foot-high closet turned into a storage cabinet with horizontal flat files. And she stores organizational bins wherever possible, including under a couch and behind curtain panels.

"I didn't want the space to look like an office while I was living there," she says. "But now that I'm not living there, I still don't want it to look like an office."

See more photos of the wildly colorful Eat My Words office...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spoon Me, Baby!

The frozen yogurt chain we named "Spoon Me" is enjoying phenomenal success... check out how wildly popular it is...