Two thousand nineteen: the year of VSCO girls, even more Netflix hits, climate activism, the passing of a Reddit icon, and (oh!) a slew of new and approved words. December is always a blast here at Catchword as we get to look back at the words, names, and taglines that rocked the branding world, and the world at large. As the year—and decade—come to a close, we can’t help but round up some of the greatest hits and also some of the hardest learned lessons from 2019.
Best Buzzworthy Names of 2019
This sparkling water could not be more sweet. With an easily pronounceable and playful name and an exuberant logo, Bubly is a godsend for those of us who continually mispronounce market leader LaCroix (la-krah? la-kwah? la-croy?).
The social media standout of 2019, TikTok is 50% social media platform, 50% amateur music video app, and 100% fun. Targeting Gen Z, TikTok has a name that is rhythmic and sing-songy and perfectly suited for teens who love music.
As plant-based proteins overtook–and shook–not just specialty stores but big-time supermarkets and fast-food chains in 2019, this name grew to be one of our favorites. It’s not simply doing the impossible in the now, but suggests a brand made to extend well into the future.
Biggest Brand Fail
Culturally Not OK: Kim K’s Kimono
“Ugh” is all we can say when we see the biggest reality TV star adopt the name of a ceremonial garb to turn a profit. Thankfully, this Kardashian has since owned up to her mistake and changed the name of her culturally insensitive line.
Wordplay–Gone Wrong: South Dakota’s “Meth. We’re On It.”
(Facepalm.) At Catchword, we love us a good pun, but methamphetamine is really no laughing matter. We’re still not too sure who signed off on this “colossal blunder.”
Uncredible & Uncool: News Corps’ Knewz
With this name, there’s just no good news… Conflating “knew” and “news” and employing a juvenile (dare we say, cheap?) “z” ending, Knewz got a hard D from us upon launch.
Hottest Trend of the Year
Personal & Human First Names
From Siri and Alexa to Oscar and Facebook’s newly launched Liam chatbot, humanizing the impersonal and overly technological is the trend du jour. Our own Laurel Sutton commented on this trend in finance in Vox.
Trend That’s Here To Stay (Through 2020 and Beyond)
In 2010, a little-known, connected thermostat was launched, and the naming world was forever changed. Since Nest, real-English words (think: Medium, Google Home, Scoot, Mirror) have populated our world. Favored for their straightforward nature, approachability, and trustworthy feel, these names show no signs of slowing.
Most Notable Name Ruling
We can’t help but love names on Santa’s naughty list, and this year, we saw them win big in the Supreme Court. The edgy FUCT (a clothing brand) scored the right to a federal trademark and helped end the ban on “immoral” and “scandalous” marks.
At Long Last: Words (Finally!) Added To the Dictionary
Every year, Merriam Webster announces hundreds of words and usages that have made the leap from everyday language into the biggest of books. Here are just a few of our favorites!
…because we think signing off is good for the soul.
…because vacations should be fun–and fun to say.
…because we need a planet that’s just right.
Favorite Saying (Errr…Insult)
We can’t leave another year without hurting someone’s feelings, and this year, that person is an entire generation. Not quite a millennial? We’ve got you covered.
Best Use of Naming Concision
It’s official: Dunkin’ has broken up with Donuts. While sad to see Donuts go, we’re pretty jazzed to see the business expand its offering (and for all the new breakfast–and lunch–concoctions to come!).
Going boldly where few brands have gone before, Doritos is the newest example of Naming Parsimony–trading out logo and brand name for their iconic triangle in recent ads. We can only guess who might be next?
Biggest Domain Story
.ORG Sold To For-Profit
As namers we’re always tracking the land of domains, and this year, one company looks to buy a whole kingdom. Private equity firm Ethos is currently in negotiations to buy the company that owns every .ORG–or a whopping 10 million domains. What this means for .ORG owners is still to be determined…
Most Thankful Naming Agency
We sure were busy this year. Completing almost 100 projects for nearly 60 clients, we feel fortunate to be able to do what we love for yet another year and can’t wait to see what 2020 brings!