The Levison Letter


That which we call a Rolls . . .

February, 2015


The early car makers didn't waste a lot of time creating fancy names for their cars.


They named them after themselves.


Ford. Buick. Chevrolet. Chrysler. Dodge. Ferrari. Porsche. Rolls-Royce.


Soon, however, things changed. Future generations of automobile marketers decided that they could sell more cars if they came up with exciting, evocative names -- names that men, then the principal buyers of cars in America, would find irresistible.


For example, when they were marketing to the upwardly-mobile family man who aspired to wealth and "class," they offered the Town & Country, the Park Avenue, or the Crown Victoria.


The younger free spirit went for the Aviator, Sunfire, Liberty, Escape, or Explorer.


The macho guy with the open beer can, who you NEVER want to flip off when he cuts in front of you, chose the Viper, Marauder, or (most ominously) the Crossfire.


Well and good. The car in America is a wish-fulfillment as well as a means of transportation, and buying a car with a highly evocative name is fine with me.


What turns me off is a new trend in product naming that I find quite repellent. I'm talking about giving everything, from cars to companies, names that don't mean a darned thing.


For example, today you can go out and buy a Toyota "Yaris," a Hyundai "Elantra," or a Volkswagen "Passat." In my view, these names are nothing but pretentious efforts to sound modern, hip, and sophisticated.


Let me give you another example . . .


The company formerly known as Phillip Morris, produced a lot more than cigarettes. It owned brands like Kraft, Maxwell House, Nabisco, Oreo, Oscar Mayer, Post, and Tang. Obviously, Phillip Morris wasn't crazy about its "dealer in death" image that was tainting its other brands so they decided to put everything under a new umbrella and change their name. What are they calling themselves now?


The Altria Group.


In other words, they have decided to become invisible and fly under the radar with a non-name. Heck. It could also be the perfect name for a car . . . The Nissan Altria.


Yes. Sadly, a lot of the marketing language used today is empty language. But you can do better.


My advice? Insist that the marketing materials written for you actually say something and communicate benefits. Never settle for clichés and empty prose. And finally, don't be afraid of lighting up your copy with personality and emotion.


Let your competitor drive the Elantra. You drive the Porsche.




Want me to steer you in the right direction? Give me a call and let's talk. If you need me to write lead-generation letters, emails, ads, landing pages, whatever, please get in touch anytime. Let me help make 2015 your best year ever!

How to get in touch . . .
Phone: (415) 461-0672
Fax: (415) 461-7738
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Ivan Levison. Direct Mail, Email & Advertising Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive, Greenbrae, CA 94904
Phone (415) 461-0672      Fax: (415) 461-7738

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