Saturday, September 27, 2008

What’s In a Product Name?

I came across this interesting post in Neatorama recently about product names & the deception behind it. Product names don't necessarily reflect the truth of the products, here is one example taken from the post


Sounds Like: An imported Scandinavian product.

The Truth: It was created by Ruben Mattus, a Polish immigrant who sold ice cream in New York City, who used what the New York Times called the "Vichyssoise Strategy":

Vichyssoise is a native New Yorker. Created at the Ritz Carlton in 1917, it masqueraded as a French soup and enjoyed enormous success. When Mattus created his ice cream, he used the same tactic ... He was not the first to think Americans would be willing to pay more for a better product. But he was the first to understand that they would be more likely to do so if they thought it was foreign. So he made up a ridiculous, impossible to pronounce name, [and] printed a map of Scandinavia on the carton.

The ice cream was actually made in Teaneck, New Jersey.

The post did a good job pointing out 'clever' product names but such marketing ploys are not unique to America. We do have a few of them in Malaysia as well. Here are some of the names that comes to mind


The name sounds like some high end Italian footwear maker. The shops are plastered with gigantic posters of Caucasians modeling their shoes to complete the illusion that it originates from Europe.

Truth is, Vincci is a Malaysian company under Padini Holdings Berhad. But I don't think that will stop the ladies from flocking to their shops especially during the Raya sales.

Other brand names under it includes Padini, Padini Authentics, PDI, P & Co, Seed and Miki.


The name sounds like an established American hot dog chain with a long history. The design of their stores & pushcarts were reminiscent of hot dog stores from the States. And with a menu that consist of product names such as New York Chicken & Chicago Beef, did little to suggest otherwise.

Truth is, 1901 is a Malaysian company set up by Tengku Rozidar & Ahmad Zakir at the height of the financial crisis. Their approach proved to be very successful spawning 70 outlets by 2007 that many people still mistaking it for a American hot dog chain.


Mentioned donuts & the first things that comes to mind are Homer Simpson & overweight American cops.

So, when Big Apple Donuts & Coffee opened in Malaysia, it definitely sounds like a chain store from America. The name & logo featuring the iconic Chrysler Building suggest that it originated from New York.

But the truth is, Big Apple Donuts is owned by a Malaysian, Mike Chan who discovered the finer points of making donuts from the United States.


Bata is a leading footwear manufacturer & marketeer in Malaysia with over 220 stores! Of course, we all knew & loved Bata for their school shoes. I remember fondly the yearly trips to Bata before the school semester begins to purchase new shoes.

Bata shoes are a part of many Malaysians school days. It is also an institution that is uniquely Malaysian right?

No, truth is Bata
Shoes is a large, family owned shoe company. It is currently headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland,. It has retail presence in over 50 countries & production facilities in 26 countries.

Malaysian Deception or Malaysia Boleh? You decide ^~^


BernardC said...

Too bad, this year Rihanna lost to the siau woman singing on Rehab....
Umbrella - ella - ella - ella

foongpc said...

I thought Bata is a Malaysian company! Yes, Big Apple Donuts sure sound like it's from New York. Anyway, it doesn't really matter. It's just like NIke - a world famous brand name, but the shoes are made from factories in China.

Johnny Ong said...

these are smart marketing strategies

Miss Q said...

cool post!
Anyway, I still love Vincci's shoe...haha..although it's Malaysia's brand.
As for 1901, i was quite shock to know that it's not from America

BernardC said...

Starbucks if so kind give free coffee...who doesn't want?

QuaChee said...

bata - i thought is super malaysian lol.

on 1901 vincci big apple, yup, know they are malaysia boleh brands :)

i agree that foreign names are the way to go for marketing.

its ok... but i sometimes feel a bit disappointed that our local names can never go far..

in fact, this has also gone into a lot of other things where a foreign look gives a better impression.

for me, a good balance is still best :)

just apple said...

haegan daze i love it!

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