Whose name is it, anyway? Firms clash over credit for Vuity

By Marc Iskowitz

December 22, 2021

Multiple agencies were involved in the eye drop’s naming. Here, we attempt to clarify who should receive the creative props.

Who really came up with the brand name for Allergan’s new eye drop for farsightedness? …

To some extent, the list of those responsible for conceiving a drug name is as long as the number of firms involved in the process, which can be extensive. …

Did Catchword give birth to Vuity’s name? “We did, 100%,” reported Catchword co-founder Laurel Sutton.

“We just want to get credit as a naming company,” she added. “People only hire us if they can see what names we’ve created as a guide to what we do.”

Were the drug name to show up on two different agency portfolios, it would create confusion in the minds of prospective clients. The lack of clarity has already started to play out publicly: Media coverage in the wake of Brand Institute’s Vuity press release implied that it was indeed claiming creative credit.

Which is why Sutton, Catchword’s co-founder and the one who led the agency’s Vuity work, wants to clear the air.

She said Allergan approached it for branding work on the eye drop in September 2020. The agency suggested two rounds of names before “Vuity” was selected, subject to legal screening and stringent FDA testing.

That’s when Brand Institute, which had been involved since the beginning, came back in and did the regulatory testing and issued recommendations as to which names would best serve the client, Sutton claimed. …

“‘Vuity’ is not a real word but sounds like one because it has a prefix and a suffix,” Sutton noted.

The prefix “vu” relates to vision and the suffix “ity” is meant to invoke acuity – acute vision, things one can see clearly. “It’s not weird or multisyllabic but flows like a real word and sounds elegant and premium,” she added.

The latter aspect was important, with a 30-day supply of the drug costing about $80. And while the drug’s target audience is adults ages 40 to 55 years old, the drug can’t restore them to the vision of a 25-year-old. One drop on each eye provides sharper vision for six to 10 hours, according to the company. …

Sutton said she has been involved in cases where multiple agencies independently came up with the same name for a brand or product, although the clients in those cases were not in the healthcare vertical. “That can happen, but that was not the situation this time,” she stressed.

Brand Institute’s carefully worded press language did not misrepresent its naming work. Nevertheless, using the same external language to convey that work, whether it be the sole creative force or merely a collaborator, may have led to confusion in this case. …

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