Super Bowl reminds us about Oreos: A great no-meaning name

Oreos_nameAt last year’s Super Bowl, when the lights were out for over 30 minutes, Oreos tweeted how you could still dunk and eat their great cookies in the dark. This message when viral, if for no other reason than everyone was amazed how such a big company could react so well and so quickly. To the point, perhaps unfairly, that people are writing and asking what they will do for an encore.

Do they really need to advertise at all? Aren’t they always the best selling cookies on most grocery store shelves across America, with the exception of certain ethnic markets? Well yes, for the same reason that Coca Cola and McDonald’s advertise (and Starbuck’s does not need to) to make sure you touch them each day or at least each week.

For me of course, it is about the name as much as the taste. Always has been, always will be. How does a short, but three syllable name, that breaks so many of the rules that govern great names of the world, emerge head and shoulders above most others to be a classic? A name with no meaning. A name that is not descriptive other than a slight connection between round O’s and round cookies. A name that pokes fun at itself in commercials on how to pronounce it! A name that is not based on any classic or even other foreign roots! A name that is hard for certain non-native English speakers to pronounce.

Perhaps it is because Oreos are first and foremost a child’s product and children embrace any name, however weird, whatever the language, without the analysis paralysis adults go through on naming products. Let’s face it, Oreos is a great name, regardless of the taste or sugar in the cookies, regardless of what the linguists and adults say. And for sure, now you know why computers can’t make up names, even though IBM taught one to play chess at a grand master level.

Nowadays Oreos are still made in New York City where they started, but the big US factory is in Richmond Virginia.  They are also made in Spain, The Ukraine and China, and soon at the Cadbury factory in Sheffield, Yorkshire in the U.K.

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Posted in Food Names, Name Origins, Naming Education, Naming News, Strange Names, Trademarks