A Delightful Pill to Swallow: Name Review of Olly Vitamins


Brad Harrington, mastermind behind the much-lauded Method cleaning supplies, has done it again. He has taken another hidebound aisle in the store, pulled the dirty old rug out from underneath it, and made it exciting again. His new vitamin and supplement venture is called Olly.

I have heard that first impressions last a lifetime. Though I don’t think that axiom is entirely true, the first impression of an abstract name is extremely important. Whereas a descriptive name makes literal sense from the git-go and is therefore comforting and familiar, an abstract name can—when left to its own devices, bereft of logos and packaging and copy—appear strange and off-putting.

Olly is the perfect example of how to properly execute an abstract name. First of all, the name is malleable enough so that the consumer can project whatever meaning they want onto the name. To some it may sound happy, suggesting Jolly, active like Ollie (the sk8tr trick) or Alley-Oop, or playful like the schoolyard cry “Olly Olly Oxen Free.” Furthermore, a cursory glance at the website copy reveals how creatively and effortlessly they reinforced—and therefore familiarized consumers to—the abstract name. Presented as a verb, “Olly Up!” and as a noun, “Have you found your Olly?” the name’s versatility and range match the versatility and range of the vitamin and supplement options themselves.

The last bit of Olly’s name perfection comes from the packaging, logo, and presentation. Because every abstract name (no matter how perfect) could be questioned by a nitpicker, the extra-textual stuff ensures the name evokes the right feelings in even the most cynical of consumers. The upper case letters OLLY in the logo ensure that Olly doesn’t look like Oily, and the friendly colors bring consumers to Jolly before Folly. Who knows what Neo would have chosen if he had purple, orange, and yellow options as well.

I can’t speak to their tastiness compared to the chewable Flintstone’s Multivitamins, which I credit for my robust childhood immune system, but in all other departments, Olly blows their competition clean out of the esophagus.

Grade: A

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