Ad Age Says Goats Are In; Monkeys Are Out

Goat Swoosh

Advertising Age reports this week on a growing advertising trend–the increased use of goats in ads.  It’s an odd aspect of our creative industry that copying is so common.  One area where follow-the-leader is rampant is in naming. Brand names should be distinctive above all, but I often get naming project requests like: “I want a name like Twitter” or “Lizard names are so cool, I want a lizard name, too.” Now, it seems, goats are a potential new brand fad.

The goat trend, if it can be called one,  is still in its early stages for brand names. Only a few, mostly small companies have branded around the animal:

  • Goat.com, a design and production company
  • Goat Rock Semiconductors
  • Surly Goat Beer
  • Goat Eyewear
  • The Childhood Goat Trauma Foundation, a support group for people with problems from traumatic experiences at petting zoos as children–if anyone has suffered a traumatic run-in with goats, counselors are standing by (I suspect this is the Ricky Gervais of support groups).

    The “goat” name trend doesn’t look like it will bring a run of copycat names like the “fish” trend of a few years back that brought us such gems as Babelfish, Snapfish, or Razorfish. Nor is it like the “primate” trend that brought us Red Monkey Jeans, Mail Chimp, or Gorilla Glue.

    None of the animal name trends have rivaled the “e” trend of 1999, when nearly 5000 “e” names were registered in a single year, up 220% over 1998. Fast on the heels of “e” came “i.” Companies whose brands were built on innovation and who had resources to come up with innovative names jumped on the “i” bandwagon: Two of the most disappointing brand names in the last decade come from Apple, the iPhone and iPad.

    Stop the goat trend before it starts. Don’t jump on any name trend. Pick a name that stands out. If a name idea makes you stop and say “that’s different,” even “that’s weird,” you have a winner.

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