The influential and very readable Baby Name Wizard blog is accepting nominations for the 2008 name of the year. Add your suggestion, or second a nomination, in a comment on the post.
Before you do, though, be sure to review the rules and past winners. The NOTY must be a first (given) name that rode the zeitgeist to prominence during 2008. Criteria for the final choice include:
- A dramatic change in the name's usage or social meaning
- A reflection of a broader cultural theme, or influence on broader style trends
- Readers' votes (frequency of nominations, and compelling arguments)
Note that last year's NOTY was Barack—nice forecasting, Baby Name Wizard!—which means Barack is ineligible this year, as are other past winners.
Using the same criteria, what brand name would you nominate for Brand of the Year? It need not be the name of a new product or company, but it must in some way reflect events or themes of 2008.
Here are a few I'd include in the pool:
- Bear Stearns: It dominated the headlines for a season and saw its image transformed from standard-bearer to pariah of the financial-services sector's woes. Suddenly, its gloomy name seemed uncannily apt.
- Twitter: It launched in 2007, but came of age in 2008, thanks in part to the Beijing Olympic Games and the U.S. presidential election, which were the subjects of countless tweets. This was also the year that many serious news organizations joined Twitter. And just this month a Twitter furor was responsible for bringing down an ad campaign by Motrin, the pain reliever owned by giant consumer company Johnson & Johnson.
- Açaí: Okay, it's a Brazilian berry, not a trademark. But it's become a brandable ingredient in products from energy drinks to hair conditioners. Pretty soon, everyone will know it's pronounced ah-sigh-ee.
- Obama: It was transformed from "funny-sounding" or "foreign" to "global household word." The name meets the criteria for international acceptability: its vowel-consonant-vowel structure is easily pronounced in virtually every language. And if you doubt that a presidential candidate—and now president-elect—can be called a brand, read this interview with Sol Sender, the Chicago graphic designer who designed the Obama "O" logo. "[T]o the degree that the campaign spoke to millions of people," Sender says, "it may have become a symbol for something broader — some have termed it a movement, a symbol of hope." By the way, Sender designed only the primary logo; all of the official variations were handled by the campaign itself. (Hat tip: Mxrk.)