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August 2, 2007 | Tate Linden
It's getting pretty crowded in here, ain't it?

Athol Foden - head namer over at the descriptively-named Brighter Naming - has started up the Name Awards blog.

While I haven't yet figured out what the Name Awards have to do with the content on the blog, it is obvious that Mr. Foden has considerable experience he brings to the table. His opinions are interesting even if they're often on the opposite side of issues from the opinions we (or more accurately "I", in this case) hold. (I wasn't immediately attracted to the name Alinghi and am not a big fan of Blu-Ray.)

Side note - Stokefire was named during the "blue craze" that is still echoing on today. In fact, Bluebulb was one of the early concepts we came up with. We ditched it because it wasn't deep and felt like a "me too!" response to the naming environment.

Mr. Foden is asking interesting and unusual questions - such as how you would market the Osama brand in light of recent world events, and how Adam and Eve got their names. (We think we might know a guy who could help with that last one. But he hasn't talked for a while...)

Welcome to the conversation Mr. Foden. Looking forward to getting to know you through your words...
charles August 2, 2007 1:59 PM

Curious about opinion from the wise in the naming game. Should Uncle Ben's be renamed as a part of the attempt to rebrand?

Tate Linden August 2, 2007 2:55 PM

Tip o' the hat to charles for implying that I may be "wise."
I don't think I'd go so far as to say that Uncle Ben's should be renamed, but I'd certainly explore it. There's a massive amount of brand equity in the name so any change could set them back significantly.
One of the areas I'd probably explore would be a change in the fictional character's name from the implied first name of "Ben" to a last name of "Benjamin" - and providing a new first name to fill in the gap. A major concern for the brand was that the character wasn't a Mr. or Mrs. and didn't have a last name. The implication is that it was a slave name...
By fully fleshing out the identity and making it deeper (e.g., "Uncle Jeremiah Benjamin" AKA "Uncle Ben") and giving him a persona to fit I think they could've kept the company name and adjusted the character's positioning a little less severely.
My thoughts on the new branding effort? Well, it does seem awfully peculiar to have a CEO go by his first name to people other than his kids. And that's probably where I would've looked if I'd taken this path... At work he's Mr. Benjamin, but when he's with family he's "Uncle Ben."
I'll be interested to see if they adjust their marketing in this fashion as the new identity isn't very well received...