I can definitively say that I am not the target market for Lamborghini. My dream car is a hybrid 4-wheel drive minivan – sliding doors, great gas mileage, good for ski trips . . . I mean, what more can you ask for?
But, when my co-worker and friend, Eunice Park, emailed me a link to an article announcing Urus, Lamborghini’s new SUV concept, I was intrigued. Not for the obvious “OMG, Lamborghini is making an SUV” reason, but because I was fixated on the name. I kept on trying to convince Eunice that it is pronounced “oooooh-rus” and not “you-rus.” I argued that Uma Thurman’s first name is pronounced “Oooooma”, so this had to be the Lamborghini “oooooh-rus.” She countered with words such as “Uranus” and “urologist” that started with the “you” sound. Dammit, I hate playing word games with Eunice – she always wins!
In the end, I accepted defeat and admitted that the name is probably prounounced “you-rus” even though that doesn’t stop me from randomly saying “oooooh-rus” to her every so often. I looked around online and did not see any instructions on the correct pronunciation of Urus, so if it is still up for debate, I encourage the executives at Lamborghini to go with “oooooh-rus.” I mean, they were obviously trying to be unique by creating a Lamborghini SUV, and then naming it Urus. So, why not go all the way and pronounce it all crazy. I think that jingle writers could come up with something really catchy:
“OoooOOOOOOooooo-rus, so much better than the city bus,
Oh yeah, ooooOOOOOOOoooo-rus, Nothing left to discuss.”
Now, I’m going to drop the pronunciation topic; the “o” key on my laptop just told me it was tired. So, let’s look at the name “Urus” from some other angles. Almost everyone said that it looked like a truncated form of Uranus – and we are so not going there! Aside from that, the word has a nice look to it. A lot of rounded letters, no hanging letters (y, j, p, etc.), a great word for visual designers to work with. And, in fact, the logo they came up with is quite cool.
The name is short, unique, and has a high-end sound. The only definition I could find for Urus is: “an extinct large long-horned wild ox of Europe that is the ancestor of domestic cattle. ”
But, I think both the animal and it’s name are extinct at this point. So, overall, Urus is what we in the naming industry would call an empty vessel name. It probably doesn’t carry any preconceptions for the average person; therefore, Lamborghini has the opportunity to own the brand name and create their own associations with the brand name.
Fisker Automotive, launched its first car, the Fisker Karma earlier this year. The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid luxury sports sedan whereas the Lamborghini Urus is a performance SUV. The cars are different, and so is their approach to creating names.
“Karma” is a Sanskrit-derived word defined as “the total effect of a person’s actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person’s existence, regarded as determining the person’s destiny.”
I basically think of Karma as “what goes around, comes around” – both good and bad. Karma is a word that has positive associations for most people in the western world. The environmental benefits of the vehicle also make Karma a pretty good name for Fisker’s debut car.
Both approaches to name development have their merits, depending on what the goal is for your brand. My personal goal is to get into the jingle business. I’m really good, right?
Overall Grade: B-