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Gilly’s Organics: Stimulating Products and Names

By Mark Skoultchi

November 2, 2009

hslg_11Okay, I’m just gonna come right out and say it: I know Gilly. She’s a friend and former cosmetic branding professional (as a well as a part time namer) who recently launched her own line of organic hair and body products. So, this is in part a plug for her new conditioner and exfoliant, but it’s just as much a comment on the names she chose for her (obviously) organic wares, which I’m publicly endorsing.

So, the names:

In Mint Condition! (um, the conditioner)
Hey Sugar, Lookin’ Good! (the exfoliant)

You can tell she’s had some naming experience! “In Mint Condition” is smart on several levels. It identifies the product class (conditioners) and references the key ingredient in the formulation (peppermint tea). Taken together, the terms – Mint and Condition – create yet another level of messaging, and imply that your hair will be fully restored after treatment. It’s awesome. A smart play on words and a perfect example of how sometimes so much can be communicated by so little.

If I have one quibble with the name it’s that the word “In” may be superfluous. I’m guessing that Gilly considered just “Mint Condition” and decided that the word “In” added something important to the name. Perhaps that it more strongly implies the inclusion of mint in the formulation. Or maybe without the additional term the product name feels flatter, more descriptive, and less playful (which is probably true). I think it’s a tradeoff. The lengthier version may have certain benefits, but it’s of course, well, lengthier. And at least in naming, size generally does matter. I might’ve opted for the two-word alternative, but I think either construction rinses and repeats well.

As I mentioned, Gilly’s other product, the exfoliant, is named “Hey Sugar, Lookin’ Good!” And, like the conditioner name, this name is suggestive of a key ingredient in the formulation – namely, sugar. More specifically, organic cane sugar (which is what gives the product its exfoliationalizingable characteristics. I think that’s a real word). I like this name, though perhaps not quite as much as the conditioner name. The casual, flirtatious tone is fun, and I admire how Gilly was able to turn an endearing play-on-words into a relevant and suggestive brand name.

But, while I’m always one for unique constructions and breaking through the clutter with a distinctive looking name, the “sentence-as-name” has never been a very easy play. Certainly there have been successes: Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and recently Yes To Carrots (actually, another player in the organic hair and body product category!) to name a few. But these wordy names are a mouthful, and can sometimes be confused for taglines. In addition, attempts to shorten the name may not be consistent. In the case of “Hey Sugar, Lookin’ Good!”, I can imagine users reducing it to either “Hey Sugar” or “Lookin’ Good!”, possibly leading to customer confusion about the brand. Yes, it’s likely Gilly will immediately differentiate herself in her category with a construction of this sort, but at what cost? Here’s hoping she doesn’t have to pay too much, if anything, for her bold brand name decision.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the products themselves, they’re awesome. Seriously. After getting up with my son at 4am this morning I don’t know that I can say I’m feelin’ “In Mint Condition” today, but my hair certainly rocks. People I know have been stopping me on the street, commenting on my locks, asking if I’ve had some sort of rejuvenating hair surgery or something. And my wife is looking at me with expressions I haven’t seen in 10 years. So thanks, Gilly!

If you’re curious about the products you can find them at the Gilly’s Organics website. It’s still a small product line, but I know Gilly’s got other ideas in development. Check it out folks!

Names Grade: B+

Grade:
B+
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