Monday, January 21, 2008

Drug Makers Make Name Games Big Business

From Forbes:
Prozac. Viagra. Lipitor.

The names of these incredibly popular medicines don't have defined meanings. But millions of dollars are spent creating just the right sound and image.

Research shows letters with a hard edge like P, T or K convey effectiveness. X seems scientific. L, R or S provide a calming or relaxing feel. Z means speed.

Earlier this month, Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. came up with Effient as the name for its new heart drug. "I would call that a fairly bold name because Effient seems to be just a letter or two off from efficient," said Anthony Shore, global director of naming and writing at Landor Associates.

Drug companies often delve into a weird science that ties symbolism to letters or prefixes when they hunt for the next hot brand name. In the case of Prozac, the first syllable makes the speaker pucker up and push out a burst of air, which grabs attention and implies effectiveness, said Jim Singer, who is president of the branding firm Namebase and helped Lilly name the antidepressant. ...more

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