We did a blog post about made up words by marketers earlier. There’s many of them and some work and some don’t. This time around we’ll look at 2 that didn’t and one that was amazingly successful.
When marketing people make up a word it needs to communicate their brand. When done well it’s as good as gold. But when done poorly the wheels can come off your sales train quickly.
Budweiser started using the term “Drinkability” in 1962, although, no campaign revolved around it. In 2008 they began an ill-fated marketing flop for Bud Lite that put Drinkability in the center of a multi-year $50 million campaign. The campaign focused on quality ingredients and made a play to be a hipster party beer. That marketing disaster lead to the first full year sales decline in its history.
Drinkability goes well on the bottle but has proven to be a bad campaign idea. The campaign was a serious disconnect from Bud Lite as the working man’s beer, which worked for so many decades. Beer drinkers buy image not taste or ingredients.
Dodge had a reputation for being “rugged”. Their customers liked the power and quality. Almost from their beginning, Dodge leveraged that to become one of the top auto-makers in America.
“Theodore MacManus coined the word ‘dependability.’ Dodge was using the term in advertising from around 1914, and by the 1930’s, the word was appearing in dictionaries, and soon found its way into common, everyday usage.” https://reedbrothersdodgehistory.wordpress.com/1950s-1960/dodge-dependability/
J.D Power even has an award and rating category for Dependability. The word Dependability perfectly encapsulated what they were and who their customers felt they were. It’s an absolute win.
In 2016 Dodge flopped in the Dependability study by J.D Power. Ironic, don’t you think?
In January 2014 Sprint announced the introduction of its Framily Plan. The word blended the words, friend and family. The concept was based on the idea we choose who we consider family. By August of the same year, it was dead. Sprint dropped the Framily Plan and started to promote their Family Share Pack. Too clever by half dear framily.
Marketing Good and Bad
Made up words can embody and communicate a brands persona. It can quickly deliver how their customers already feel about the brand but it can be a disaster if it’s just cute or is counter to a brands current position. Rhyming in a tagline can be equally bad. Ultimately we need to connect our brand with something already in our buyers’ mind. When clever or cute take precedent you will have a marketing disaster or as I like to say a “market-aster” 🙂