Sunday, February 19, 2012

Car Names - Emotions in Motion

Orville Redenbacher once related that he gave an ad company $10,000 to come up with a name for his popcorn. After months of claimed 'work' they returned with "Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popcorn".

I say he got off easy. He could have been a carmaker. In the wide, weird world of marketing, no two groups have a bigger disconnect than the namers of cars and their intended audience. I know these things are supposed to affect my emotions. And they do. Oh, how they do. Let's take a look at some recent models…… 


Ford
Escort - a sleazy thrill that you pay top dollar for but which leaves you quickly.
Fiesta - so every time I get in my car I think of annoying Nortena music, cheap confetti and heartburn. 
Escape - My life sucks. Get me out of here!

Aspire - Some day I’ll be a real car!
Flex - I really don't want my car to 'flex'.
Bronco - Not the smoothest ride.
Explorer - So, you’re lost.
And, of course, we cannot pass over the Ford Probe – Except nothing I could say would be as filthy as what you just thought. I will say though that my all time favorite newspaper headline is:  "Sheriff releases probe into deputy".

Honda
Element - the smallest, most indivisible form of a certain material. Plastic, in this case.
Prelude - so someday my car will begin?

GM is big on astrological signs. Dodge Aries, Ford Taurus, and so on. I'm waiting for the Mercury Cancer, myself. Possible slogan: "It'll grow on you!"

Chevrolet
Avalanche - You will be crushed under tons of snow and ice.
Equinox - Twice a year people will pay attention to you.
Blazer - My car is on fire.
Citation - My car is against the law.
Nova - BOOM

Dodge – which, by the way, means to leap out of the way of something that could kill you.
Stealth - Your car cost 2 billion dollars and can be disabled by a microwave oven.
Aspen - My car cannot live below 5,000 feet.
Caravan - The average speed of a caravan is 3 miles per hour.
Challenger - Be sure to get the optional O ring upgrade.
Charger - My car is losing power.
Dynasty - My car had low ratings and was cancelled in 1989.
Rampage - Your car is a mass murderer.
Neon - My car is an inert gas.
Colt - Someday my car will have real, horsepower!

Pontiac
Fiero - My car is on fire!
Firebird - Medium rare, please.

Plymouth
Voyager - Unfortunately comes with Neelix riding shotgun.
Arrow - Goes straight for short distances - can’t take corners at all.
Duster - Your car is made out of feathers.
Horizon - My car is always 3 miles away from me.
Sundance - Your car is a pretentious, trendy douche.

Oldsmobile Intrigue - I do not trust my car.

Cadillac Eldorado - My car isn’t real.

Kia Sedona - “Where’s that ‘OM’ sound coming from?”

Mistubishi
Eclipse - Something is passing in front of you and taking all your glow and shine and brightness away.
Mitsubishi Mirage - Your car isn’t real.
Lancer - “I don’t like the look of that mole……”
Lancer Evolution - “You thought that mole was dead, but late at night in the lab at the clinic…..”

Nissan
Armada - The only armada I’ve ever heard of was Spanish and they got their butts handed to them.
Pathfinder - You’re lost.
Quest - You’re still lost.
Versa - Everything is against you.
Titan - You’re a moon orbiting Saturn with an atmosphere rich in methane, so you smell like a fart.

Pontiac
Vibe - My wife hasn’t changed jobs…….and yet her commute keeps getting longer and longer.
Aztek - An entire empire had their butts handed to them by a handful of Spainards and then they all died of smallpox. Vroom vroom!
Grand Prix - My car seats one and it takes nine people to change the tires.
Solstice - You will only be noticed twice a year. But hey, go get a Chevy Equinox too. Now you’ll get attention every three months!

Saturn
Relay - You’re job is to drive up alongside the car in front of you and throw a baton at them.
Saturn Sky - Mostly hydrogen but with winds traveling over 1,000 MPH. Get the electric window option.
Ion - Your car is very, very small and forever stuck in ‘neutral’. And you have a Nissan orbiting you.

Diahatsu Charade - Your car isn’t real.

Hyundai Excel - My car takes forever to load, and it crashes a lot.

Subaru Forester - My car chops down old growth trees!

Isuzu
Axiom -Your car is a proposition that is not proven. In fact it is self evident that your car sucks.
Impulse - My car does not have warp capability.
Trooper - “Aren’t you a little short for an SUV?”

Suzuki
Reno - You’re not as pretty as Tahoe and not as cool as Vegas.
Esteem - Oh, my car is running low……..

Toyota
Sidekick – My car is comic relief and will be kidnapped at least once a season.
Sequoia - My car won’t move.
Tundra - Touch it and it dies.
4Runner - Well, I’m not running – I’m driving. So I guess this isn’t 4 me.
Highlander - You are an incoherent alcoholic who wears skirts and screws sheep. And you will someday be decapitated, because “There can be only one…..”

Phoenix - My car is dead! No, it’s okay. No, it’s dead! No, it’s okay.
Eagle Talon - Your car is a bird’s toenail.
Mazda Protégé - Someday my car will get it’s chance.
Quantum - Your car is so small it cannot be seen – but, in theory, it CAN be measured.

Nowadays I think most cars driven by men should be called “No, really ladies – it’s THIS big” – compensation mobiles. Driving their penises about, when really it’s other way around. Sad, really.

Most people name their cars, perhaps just in self-defense. My first car was a ’69 Chevy Impala, which, after it was t-boned became the Impale-a. My next Chevy I named Maurice. Maurice Chevrolet. But you would have to be over forty to get that joke and under ten to appreciate a pun that lame. My last car was a Mitsubishi truck that I named the Bluebear because of its color. That blueberry color was officially known as “Danube Pearl” in the catalog. So we can see where car namers get their start.

But we consumers are hopeless amateurs compared to the big boys in the boardroom upstairs. Example: In 1958 Ford was readying a HUGE new car to be unveiled. Never mind that America was ready for the transition to smaller cars. Detroit was gonna roll out one of the biggest, heaviest, worst-engineered land yachts of all time.

The road goes ever onward. So do the bugs.
Sparing no expense, or thought, they enlisted the help of Pulitzer Prize winning poet Marianne Moore to come up with some suitably futuristic names for their retro monster. Henry Ford rejected them all, and so we were spared the “Bullet Cloisonne” “Utopian Turtletop” “Pastelogram” and the “Mongoose Civique”. Henry Ford rejected all of these and almost 18,000 other ideas, until he spotted one put there as a sop to his son……….Edsel.

I rest my case.

AngusMcMahan
angusmcmahan@gmail.com
#AngusMcMahan


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