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Top>Hakumon CHUO [2011 Autumn Issue]>[Open Campus]Mock lesson for everyone Interested in Chuo University

Hakumon CHUOIndex

[Open Campus]Mock lesson for everyone Interested in Chuo University

Naming and catchphrases for creating hit products

Asako Iida
Professor, Faculty of Commerce, Chuo University

The auditorium was packed with high schools students who had been drawn by the familiar theme of "naming and catchphrases for creating hit products." What kind of relationship exists between words and products which we use every day? The entire auditorium brimmed with interest regarding this question while students waited for the lecture to start.

Students also participate in naming

"Thanks for coming to Chuo University on such a hot day!" said Professor Iida with a smile as she greeted students and began her lecture. The professor specializes in language, conducting research on techniques for Japanese language instruction and comparative research for Japanese and English. She also teaches a seminar which examines product naming and is open to 1st to 4th year students.

"When you purchase a product, to what extent do you consider the name of the product? To begin, I would like to examine how our consumer behavior is influenced by product naming." Professor Iida gave her lecture while speaking kindly to the students.

The professor raised the specific example using the product name "Seems spicy but it's not! A Little Spicy Chili Oil," which is produced by Momoya Corporation. Professor Iida asked students to imagine they were participating in a meeting for naming products made by Momoya. The unique characteristic of Momoya's chili oil is that it contains chunks of ingredients and it is not too spicy. Students were asked to consider how to simply convey these characteristics to consumers.

Product naming encourages consumer behavior

First, assume that the product is named "Chunky Chili Oil." This name is insufficient because it fails to emphasize that the chili oil can be eaten even by people who dislike spicy foods. The next product name to be proposed was "Seems spicy but it's not! Chunky Chili Oil." "This naming isn't bad," said Professor Iida. "However, people who like spicy foods might not purchase the product when reading such a name. The chili oil is a little spicy."

The next proposal was "Seems spicy but it's not! A Little Spicy Chili Oil," which was ultimately selected as the product name. In this way, Professor Iida explained the process for naming a single product. "This long product name contains a contradiction which surprises and interests the consumer. It is a strategy which makes consumers want to pick the product off the shelf."

The professor also explained how consumer behavior is influenced by catchphrases used in commercials. She raised the example of "This wonderful and nonsensical world," a catchphrase used in commercials for BOSS Rainbow Mountain Coffee. These commercials are also famous for the appearance of Hollywood actor Tommy Lee Jones as an alien.

These commercial do not promote the coffee itself; rather, they promote a world-view of drinking coffee. "This commercial makes consumers that they will be invited into a new world when drinking BOSS coffee, even if they are tired and the current world seems trite."

Lectures using many images

To continue, Professor Iida gave a lecture regarding catch copies used to create strong impressions for certain product names and corporate names when targeting students sitting for entrance examinations. Her lecture was easy-to-understand and used many images, thus keeping the attention of students and creating interest.

In Professor Iida's seminars, research is conducted by inviting actual commercial planners and copywriters for hit products. It is certain that this mock lecture made the attending high school students look forward to entering university even more.

(Student Reporter: Noboru Horitaki, 4th year student, Faculty of Letters))