This is the way the founders of Café Gratitude (a SF Bay area restaurant which offers raw, vegan, organic fare) might hope your interaction with the server goes:
Server: How are you feeling today?
You: I am Sensational and Beautiful!
What could happen:
Server: We’re all out of Sensational, could I offer you Dazzling instead? Perhaps some Heroic on the side?
You: Well, how about I am Eternally Blessed.
Here in the world of brand naming we are constantly looking for names that evoke a certain feeling and that are fun to say. Café Gratitude has taken this ideal to the extreme form – where ordering lunch becomes an exercise in self-affirmations. What’s more, mantras for personal manifestation are offered by the wait staff. An excerpt from their menu includes:
I am insightful (spring rolls $10)
I am elated (enchilada special $15)
I am bright-eyed (pecan porridge $8.50)
It can be a struggle to keep a straight face when ordering. The idea is that ordering something like, ”I am lusciously awake” will manifest itself as a more awake state of mind simply through your verbalization and consumption of food product. Yet this sort of strategic brand naming is not unheard of – or even uncommon. We buy a lot of things based on the appeal of their associations, and for the promise of how they might change us. I know I’m hoping to be little more like J.Lo when I buy her fashion and who’s to say there’s not the promise of greater sex appeal when you pick up a copy of Allure?
There is a lot of messaging going on in Café Gratitude, but what the restaurant doesn’t exude is its skillful product and food branding. The pivotal gimmick, although shrouded in New Age-speak, comes down to the marketing and a well-executed naming architecture – “I am insightful” indeed.