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Double Down on a Triple Bypass: Review of KFC’s New Product Name

By Mark Skoultchi

April 14, 2010

doubledown
 

By now you’ve likely heard all about KFC’s newest monstrosity masquerading as a sandwich. The Double Down is composed of two chicken breasts as the outer “bread,” and bacon, cheese, and sauce as the middle filling. There are plenty of reviews of the actual sandwich and its insane composition. But, as your friendly naming experts, we wanted to review the product name itself, Double Down.

“Double down” is a blackjack term. The use of a gambling term had us a bit perplexed. What is the customer – or KFC – gambling on? Given that this is a highly unusual product, does KFC want to underscore the notion that their customers are taking a risk by trying something so new and different? On the other hand, in blackjack you typically double down when you’re confident that you have a good hand. So, there is something bold about the sandwich that works with the confident betting message.

Of course, the customer is also gambling with their heart health. The Double Down has 60% of your recommended daily intake of sodium, 50% RDI of fat, and is 25% of a day’s caloric intake (on a normal 2,000 calorie-a-day diet). Why wouldn’t you just slurp on a lard slushie instead? Maybe an appropriate tagline for the sandwich should be: Double Down on a Triple Bypass!

While the gambling metaphor is a mixed bag, the use of “double” was a wise choice. It quickly describes the form factor (two chicken breasts). What we don’t understand is why they chose to use “down” instead of “up.” While “down” typically has negative connotations, “up” has positive, uplifting meanings. And, because of the negative gambling meaning of double down, we wonder whether they considered using the more upbeat “Double Up” instead. Of course, perhaps they didn’t want to underscore the massive quantities of calories, fat, and sodium in the sandwich. (Given that their landing page lists these nutritional values front and center, I doubt this was too much of a concern.)

Another feather in Double Down’s cap is the alliteration of the two initial “d+vowel” sounds. Alliteration is always a good tool to use in a name. PayPal is a classic example of fantastic alliteration in a name. Creative and smart use of alliteration makes a product name or company name more fun to say, easier to remember, and more likely to be passed on to friends through word of mouth.

While negative reviews of the product abound, we’re left feeling that the Double Down name was a wise product name choice. The risky gambling connotations fit nicely with the critical reviews KFC surely knew would accompany the launch of a fat-laden meat glob. In addition to the edginess, the alliteration and the metaphorical allusion to the form factor make Double Down a perfect product name for this attention-grabbing heart stopper.

Name Grade: B+

Grade:
B+
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