– Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash
One of my local stores has a huge selection of “As Seen on TV” products. In reviewing their offerings, it occurred to me that the brand names are almost all descriptive & highly functional names that make it very clear what the product does. I’m talking about names like the “Furniture Fix™” chair and cushion support, the “Perfect Pancake™” cooking system, the “Perfect Fries™” French fry cutter and the “Wax Vac™” ear cleaner.
It’s possible that a simple, descriptive name may be all that is needed for a product that is usually accompanied by a long-format infomercial. After all, you are going to demonstrate the product and show its benefits, enabling you to elaborate on the product’s premise over and over again, so why try to deliver a name that has deep and rich meaning? All you really want to do is get people to pull out that credit card and pick up the phone!
Actually, the “branding” in “As Seen on TV” products is part of a trend in name development. Many clients want highly functional names because they claim not to have the money to establish a name that is not obvious to the consumer. That is one of the few pros of a descriptive name.
However, there are many more cons to using a descriptive name. In general, the more functional the name, the more likely it genericizes the product and destroys the potential competitive advantages of the product. How many variants of “fast” are there in the cleaning aisle? How do you decide which one to buy? It also makes trademark clearance a more difficult task. Just try to get anything with “fast” registered for a cleaning product! And if you manage to get a descriptive name registered as a trademark, it will be a weak mark at best.
Not all “As Seen on TV” brands are taking the easy way out, though. Consider “Poo~Pourri™,” the “Before You Go Bathroom Spray.” It’s not exactly a functional name, but I’m not buying it!