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Where do successful company and product names come from? Some are created in a flash of insight, others after months of painstaking research. And some are the result of human error. Here are the stories behind eight brands — some of them well known, some a little obscure, each interesting in its own way.  Continue reading...
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It's one of the enduring cross-cultural culinary conundrums: Why are packaged potato snacks called chips in the US and crisps in the UK? The answer is equal parts history, legend, and marketing savvy. And the spudscape is getting more complicated as cultural boundaries dissolve and the snack-food industry grows more creative and prolific.  Continue reading...
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Imagine you're naming a new brand — an alcoholic beverage, say. You know the standard marketing dogma: a brand name should promise romance, adventure, well-being, financial success, sex appeal. What are the odds that you'd ignore that advice and instead choose a name that says … death?  Continue reading...
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I consider myself a reasonably fluent speaker of Fashionspeak, a dialect distinguished by peculiar adjectives ("statement" necklace, "boyfriend" jacket), enigmatic abbreviations (boho, bodycon, cami), and a bullying use of the imperative mood ("must-have," "dos and don'ts"). Nevertheless, I sometimes find myself staring in puzzlement at a fashion headline, trying to decode an unlikely usage of a word I thought I knew. This season, that word is "tribal."  Continue reading...
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You've read the advice to writers: Strive for clarity! Make your meaning transparent! Your sentences should be lucid and understandable, your paragraphs logically constructed, your meaning readily accessible to your readers. Who could quarrel with that?  Continue reading...
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In honor of Valentine's Day, let's revisit one of the most famous couples in the love-story canon: Romeo and Juliet. Remember how the prologue to Shakespeare's play introduces them? "From forth the fatal loins of these two foes / A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life."

Star-cross'd! Isn't it romantic?  Continue reading...
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"Lets Go!!"

That's what appeared on the recently unveiled Old Navy SuperFan Nation college-football T-shirts. Yes, the second exclamation point is wholly unnecessary, but it's the missing apostrophe that really chaps my hide. And not just mine!  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 32 Articles