Easter, which this year falls on April 20, is an important religious holiday for millions of Christians. It's also a major candy holiday, now second only to Halloween in the United States. But there's more to Easter candy than sugar and food dye: there's also some fascinating linguistic and brand history.  Continue reading...
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In February, Nokia announced a new hybrid device called Nokia X. No, the name is not a generic placeholder until something catchier comes along. It's the official name of the phone. Mysterious and austere, simple yet highly symbolic, the name is representative of a dominant branding trend of our era. In nearly every category of commerce, X marks the spot.  Continue reading...
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During Hollywood movie-awards season — which culminates this year on March 2 with the Academy Awards show — honors are handed out for acting, editing, visual effects, music, makeup, and costumes. One category, however, has never had a chance to shine: the often creative, sometimes wacky names of film production companies.  Continue reading...
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Here's a riddle for you: How is clothing similar to a bomb that doesn't detonate or a seed that doesn't sprout? No, the answer is not "They're all useless." (Sorry, nudists.) Rather, they all share a single label: duds.  Continue reading...
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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...
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"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...
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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...
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