The Compendium of Amazing Names (CAN): C

Cashmere Blazer

A Name With New Life And Meaning In A New Context

You might think, “Cashmere Blazer?” What’s a boring, descriptive name like that doing in The CAN? Well, you’d be right to ask that question, if this were just a overly obvious name for a cashmere blazer. Instead, thanks to Compendium favorite Crumpler, it has been re-purposed as a name for a spacious and comfortable messenger bag, the kind you might casually throw on and wear anywhere, like, well, like a cashmere blazer perhaps. A great example of a banal, generic descriptor given new life and meaning by changing the context around it. Brilliant.

[ Cashmere Blazer ]


The Brute Force Power Of An Unexpected Name

Caterpillar is a wonderful name for a heavy machinery company. You could imagine a naming committee dismissing this name if it were on the table: “We make big, tough, powerful, brute force earth-moving machines, and caterpillars are small and cute and easily squashed. We need a name like Workhorse, Bulldog or Buffalo, a macho name.” But it’s that very unexpected quality in the name that sets Caterpillar apart in its industry. That and the fact that, while a single caterpillar might be a small, insignificant bug, in aggregate they can transform a landscape. It’s a power that sneaks up on you, just like this brand name.

[ Caterpillar ]

Chrysler Crossfire

A Sports Car Brand Name With “Negative” Meanings That Work

The Crossfire was a rear-wheel drive sports car marketed by Chrysler as both coupé and roadster from 2004-2008. Crossfire is a great, powerful name, and a big part of that power comes from the type of “negative” connotations that naming committees often cite when killing off a edgy name: “A crossfire is a hail of bullets that innocent people are killed in…” “It sounds like a misfiring engine…” and, “It is (now was) a famous political talk show.” Add to this the fact that the car was produced during the height of the Iraq War, and you realize just how gutsy Chrysler was to adopt this name.

Chrysler was able to overcome the objections to potential negative meanings because they had the right filters in place during the naming project, and stuck to their brand positioning: that this is a sporty car targeted at executives with perhaps boring careers, but who nevertheless have a “James Bond / danger-is-my-middle-name” fantasy life. And for all that, the “dangers” evoked by the name Crossfire were a perfect match.

[ Crossfire ]


A Descriptive Brand Name That Became An Icon Over Time

Arguably the most iconic of classic American brands, Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by Atlanta pharmacist Dr. John Pemberton. The name was a suggestion given by Pemberton’s bookkeeper Frank Robinson. Here we have a name that seems to break all the rules of great names: it is descriptive (for the first nineteen years the soft drink contained extracts of cocaine as well as the kola nut); it has a hyphen; and it was named by a bookkeeper (no offense). But what the name Coca-Cola does have is great poetic alliteration and symmetry, and an iconic hand-drawn flowing script logo still used today, also created by that multi-talented bookkeeper Frank Robinson.

The name also morphs into a classic nickname brand, “Coke,” as famous now as “Coca-Cola,” and used much more in vernacular speech. So add “brand dilution (being known by two names)” to the list of “mistakes” above that add up to make this brand so great. If only all brands could fail this successfully!

[ Coca-Cola ]


An Edgy Software Product Name With Many Associations

Crossfire is a powerful name that we created for a breakthrough eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) product. The names maps to the enterprise cross-functionality nature of the product and the way if “fires” data quickly into many different buckets, as needed. Most important it’s a cool, edgy name with lots of associations, not all of them positive, which gives this name an edge.

[ Crossfire: case study | website ]


An Invented Name That’s Both Humble And Full Of Attitude

Crumpler is a great invented name for an Australian company that creates bags, cases and straps. Evoking “crumpled” and “rumpled,” able to take a beating, the kinds of products you can use day in and day out and mold to your body and your lifestyle. Humble, yet full of attitude, which really comes out in this company’s outstanding suite of product names, many of which have also been featured here in the Compendium.

[ Crumpler ]

The Center for Advanced Hindsight

A Cool, Humorous Name For A Serious Company

We think of hindsight as being fixed, not relative, which makes the idea of some hindsight being more advanced than others that much funnier, and strangely compelling. The Center for Advanced Hindsight conducts “Research Into What Might Have Been – or What Definitely, Most Likely Will Be. They are, of course, about being better at foreseeing the future — that, after all, will make their hindsight more advanced, in hindsight. Follow? No worries, it’s still a cool name for a serious company that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

[ The Center for Advanced Hindsight ]