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How to choose the most important brand names of a year? Some lists emphasize companies' value, others sales volume, and still others ad spending. I look for brands that are newly prominent or notable in the last year. Then I factor in the brand names' linguistic significance and the degree to which they represent naming trends or breakthroughs.  Continue reading...

It's being called a once-in-an-eternity event: the convergence this week of the American holiday of Thanksgiving with the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Thanksgiving plus Hanukkah equals opportunity for marketers and wordsmiths alike, for whom the brand-new holiday dubbed "Thanksgivukkah" is a bonanza of merchandising... and wordplay.  Continue reading...

On May 29, 1953, the New Zealander Edmund Hillary and the Nepali Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first humans to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain. Today we find the word "sherpa" far from its original range: in job descriptions and mobile apps, in government jargon and corporate trademarks, in aircraft names and fashion lingo.  Continue reading...

For about four decades in the 20th century, rhyme ruled American advertising. The period between the 1940s and the 1970s was the golden age of ad jingles and rhyming slogans. Today, ads rarely incorporate verse — and when they do appear, it's often awkwardly executed, derivative, or barely recognizable as rhyme. What happened?  Continue reading...

"We don't need another hero," sang Tina Turner in the 1985 film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Sorry, Tina — from the evidence, we need "hero" more than ever. The word has become a noun-of-all-trades, a succinct four-letter label for people and things we admire.  Continue reading...

From classic rock to Turner Classic Movies, from Classic Roast coffee to MapQuest Classic, we're living in a new Classic Era. What do all those classics signify, and what are "classic" brands trying to sell us?  Continue reading...

Next month marks the 44th anniversary of the Woodstock festival, and we're still hearing its echoes. One of Woodstock's most enduring legacies is its influence on language. Wherever there's an "X-stock" festival, from Artstock in Oregon to Zoostock in Pennsylvania, from Rootstock in Santa Rosa, California, to Bloodstock in Derbyshire, UK, Woodstock lives on.  Continue reading...

1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 143 Articles