Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Advertisers’ wisdom had it that brevity was all when it came to naming a product. A single syllable, easily remembered, would lend itself to simpler, more punchy, graphic treatment enabling the busy shopper to quickly locate it on the crowded supermarket shelf. There is a long tradition of three-letter product names and a selection is presented here. The popularity of this strategy seemed to peak in mid-century and many of these examples come from that era. Some, such as Lux, Oxo and Vim have a long history, the last-named having been launched by Lever in 1904 as a successor to the great Victorian colossus of branding, Monkey Brand. A few have sunk into commercial oblivion but most survive into the present suggesting there may be a longevity factor associated with three-letter names. Today’s preference in product names is for cryptic combinations of letters and numerals and a large and profitable industry has evolved to shoulder the burden of finding new names for old tosh.