It's been amusing to watch U.S. radio stations change their call letters to combinations they think are hot and innovative. Now, every FM station that plays music seems to have a Q, an X, or a Z in its name: "The Mighty Q-91!" "WXZX!" "KXQQ Rocks!"
Whether or not broadcasters started this, name changes with an eye toward adding sizzle or sex appeal have become epidemic. So many pharmaceutical drugs start with X or Z today -- Xanax, Zoloft, Zantac -- that the drug companies agreed to stop creating X or Z names for awhile.
But other companies are going to zingy names. Remember when the credit card Visa was "Bank Americard"? That was a real yawner.
Old, generic college football postseason games are re-branding like crazy, too, thanks to commercial sponsorships. It's not the "Peach Bowl" in Atlanta, Georgia, any longer. It's the "Chick-fil-A Bowl." Chick-fil-A is a brand of fast-food chicken. Here's another: the "Brut Sun Bowl." Brut is an underarm deodorant!
Change is everywhere! A trendy clothier paid Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, $10 million to become the "Abercrombie & Fitch Emergency Department and Trauma Center." As the magazine Mother Jones noted, the American Association of Trial Lawyers is now the American Association for Justice. That's because trial lawyers have a slippery reputation in some quarters, and who could dislike justice?
Creating a fresh new name may seem like a good idea. But there's a lot of work involved -- and probably considerable expense, too, when you add up legal, advertising, printing, and publicity costs. So you'd best be careful, because suddenly there are an awful lot of zesty X and Z and Q companies out there.