Blog Excerpts

"Staycation," "Bleisure," and Other Made-Up Travel Words

Is the travel industry particularly susceptible to making up words like "bleisure" (combining "business" and "leisure") and "staycation" (for a stay-at-home vacation)? Associated Press travel reporter Beth J. Harpaz investigates — with help from our own Ben Zimmer, who says that such neologisms "come in handy in a business sector where there's often a need to come up with clever marketing spin." Read the AP article here.
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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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In case you haven't heard, today is "Cyber Monday," the day that retailers have decided we should all be flocking to make online purchases for our holiday gift list. Last year, Ben Zimmer explained how the advent of "Black Friday" led to the branding of "Cyber Monday" and other days in the Holy Week of shopping.  Continue reading...
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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...
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Everyone's been a name developer at least once. But I'm guessing you haven't named many things with which you had no personal connection. Year after year. For money.  Continue reading...
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Which brand was most emblematic of the year that's now ending? Facebook, which had a much-ballyhooed initial stock offering in May? Apple, which said in December it would start making some products in the United States instead of in China? Neiman Marcus and Target, which formed an unlikely high-low partnership to sell holiday gifts to two very different audiences?  Continue reading...
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Retailers, not content with branding products, have lately taken to branding days of the week, as a way to hype the holiday shopping rush. "Black Friday," the name for the day after Thanskgiving, was transformed from a negative to a positive by some clever etymological mythologizing (make that etymythologizing). Then the Monday after Thanksgiving was christened "Cyber Monday," and now some marketers would like to extend that to a "Cyber Week."  Continue reading...
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