QOTD: Triggered by a Word?
Emotional response. That’s the end goal of marketing — well, the second-to-end goal, and words and images are what a savvy marketing pro uses to plant that seed in the human brain. Rapidly germinating, the seed quickly grows into a desire to consume. To own. To bolster one’s identity with a product that says something about them, and which makes them feel good in a strange, hard-to-define way.
We’ve all been lured in by slick advertising, product placements, and the like, but products don’t always need a third-party ad agency to boost their image. The manufacturer gets first crack at that.
Which is where naming come in.
We’ve talked up the best automotive nameplates of the past, waxing poetic about lusty monikers like Thunderbird, Firebird, Jetfire, Ramcharger, and Rebel. You can add a contemporary one to the roster: Blackwing — Cadillac’s new name for the upper tier of its V-badged performance sedans.
Named after a short-lived engine few consumers know or care about, the decision marks a departure from the brand’s Johann de Nysschen days, when bland alphanumeric soup found its way to trunklids throughout the Caddy lineup. Not much stirring of the soul. But with Blackwing, a defunct engine has given life to a sub-brand of a sub-brand.
And it’s a good name. Hearing or reading the word “Blackwing” immediately, at least for this writer, conjures up images of Batman, or someone a lot like Batman. A mysterious individual with powerful connections and powerful hardware. That’s sexy stuff, so why wouldn’t Cadillac want to see it bestowed on a brace of high-performance, rear-drive sedans?
Clearly, you don’t have to dredge up ancient history to find a great new name to affix to a car (too bad Cadillac didn’t realize this works for EVs, too.) Is there a viable — and thus far unused — name you’ve always wanted to see adorn the latest and greatest new car? If so, what is it? Use your words.
[Image: General Motors]
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Animals, winds, metals, forces of nature and invented words have already been used. Hyundai/Kia gave up on those, and started using city names. In the spirit of H/K, here are a few car naming suggestions: Mobile (for anything that moves) Streator (can't miss with this one) Gallup (competition for the Mustang) Davenport (would have been big in the '70s) Chevy Chase (How has GM not used this one yet??!!) Shamokin (A FIAT with a 10,000 mile oil change interval) Anchorage (for a BMW after 65,000 miles) Seward (for Cadillac's next odoriferous faux pas) Buffalo (for buyers who are complete pushovers for the salesman and the F&I office) Fond Du Lac (comes with an extra large trunk, marketed to Mafia hit men) Flagstaff (a 4X4 pickup truck that makes overcompensation even more obvious) Climax (Colorado dared to use this as a town name. Perfect for something red, overpriced, overpowered, convertible and likely to get wrecked in the first week of ownership) Boca Raton (a chromed-up Special Edition of a large pickup, available only in New Jersey, bought by those who never bothered to look up what it means) Macon (available only to law enforcement) Champaign (luxury transportation for the millions who have great difficulty with grammar and spelling) Puyallup (Comes with a winch as standard equipment for rescuing people from quicksand) Des Plaines (Only available in white, with no options. Popular among Mennonites.) Starkville (Wagon version of the Des Plaines) Ashland (would lose any Buy/Drive/Burn contests) Ruston (For any car without TruCoat) Hancock (for the sap who realizes too late that his car isn't actually a chick magnet) Aiken (badge-engineered version of the Hancock) Greenwood (badge-engineered version of the Aiken) LaCrosse (Canadian version of the Hancock, sold in Quebec) Anaconda (no punch line here. Would make a great supercar name.) Goldfield (gaudy luxury for grayhairs hoping to pick up a gold digger) Deadwood (what Goldfields get traded in on) Carlsbad (marketed to wimpy guys named Carl) Raton (for illegal aliens with thin, wiry mustaches) Queens (So Subaru can market to the other half of the demographic) Painesville (De Sade version available at a sight extra cost) Beaverton (a flashy sports car that actually works as a chick magnet) Tanaqua (Made by Mitsubishi, because Sha'niqua deserves a car, too) Dayton (what Ta'Naqua does for a living) Florence (for divorced mothers of three and washed-up actresses) Sturgis (features a slightly raspy muffler, and is marketed to dentists) Cleveland (for GM's next flop, a real Steamer) El Paso (for Mexicans who want to pretend that they are racing)
I'd love to see a Toyota Corona to make a comeback to complete its "crown" series: Crown, Camry, Corona, and Corolla.