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Prepare for Takeoff: Southwest LIFT Coffee Brand Name Review

So, we’re sitting on the runway for a Southwest flight to Idaho (friend’s wedding in Sun Valley), and I’m flipping through anything I can find in the seat back pocket in front of me. Why not bring my own reading materials? Oh, I did. It’s just that my book is on my Nook, and ALL ELECTRONIC DEVICES POWERED DOWN FOR TAKEOFF (in all caps, to mimic the nasal way flight attendants yell at passengers, but not so much on Southwest because they seem happy at work. Go figure). The power-down requirement is a huge pitfall of using e-readers, but I’ll leave that rant for another day. Anyhow, I’m looking at the in-flight pamphlet that tells you what drinks and snacks are available on-board, and I notice something called LIFT™ coffee.

I’d never heard of LIFT coffee, but it was love at first sight…with the brand name. It’s so wonderfully clever. From a naming perspective, I would call it a home run. LIFT is the perfect short word to describe the pick-me-up that people get from coffee. Almost all brands would die for a name that is both meaningful and four letters short.

Then, I wondered, is LIFT coffee made by Southwest or is it a new brand of coffee I’ve never heard of? If it is Southwest’s own coffee, then the naming brilliance goes up another notch. Because LIFT takes on a second meaning of take-off or lift-off. Clever, clever, and more clever. The little Southwest plane featured on the coffee cup was a pretty good sign that LIFT was in fact owned by the airline. I confirmed this when we landed and I reunited with my friend, Wi-Fi.

Apparently, Southwest launched LIFT coffee in 2009 – where the hell have I been? To super-duper top it off, “for every cup of LIFT coffee our customers drink, Southwest is donating funds to help green energy projects in villages throughout the coffee-growing regions of Peru.” If an amazing brand name wasn’t enough, they had to go all-out and be do-gooders as well.

If you can’t tell, I’m a fan of Southwest airlines. They treat me like a human (United CEO Jeff Smisek, are you listening?). But regardless of the owner, LIFT is a brilliant brand name. When you work in naming, it’s really fun to rag on the plethora of horrible names out there. But, it’s also nice to be pleasantly surprised by a perfectly clever name. So, to Southwest, much LUV (that’s their ticker symbol!).

By the way, I was so worried about keeping hydrated in the desert-like airplane air, I got water and stupidly didn’t even try the coffee :-O

Overall Grade: A+

All trademarks & logos are the intellectual property of their respective companies and hereby acknowledged.

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Posted: Thursday, August 16th, 2012 at 9:00 am

Leena Mehta

Seasoned brand manager, mover-and-shake-things-upper
  1. Danica

    Brilliant! I get a lift just thinking about their fab branding.

  2. Julia

    Thank you so much for noticing. I work for a marvelous company that is full of genius.

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