Uniquely meh: Name review of Uniquely J


Jet, the aspiring giant online retailer trying to swipe a slice of Amazon’s (organic) Whole Foods pie has just launched a slightly upscale house brand for food and other household essentials. They’re calling it Uniquely J.

Jet.com spokeswoman Meredith Klein told the New York Post, “Uniquely J is yet another way Jet.com is innovating for the metro millennial. From the boldly designed packaging, to the fun, witty label copy and quality ingredients – everything was designed with this metro consumer in mind.”

Color me unimpressed.

If you can ignore the (perky smiley incongruous) Jet sticker, the packaging for many of the products is edgy and arresting. It’s not your average snacks and sundries packaging, and situates them squarely in the Trader Joe’s arena in terms of branding.

But the name? When I first read Uniquely J, I assumed it was a house-brand clothing line. Or a Uniqlo and J.Crew merger. I went to clothing because to me, foodstuffs isn’t an area where overt “uniqueness” makes sense. I’m into clothes that make me feel special. Not as true for tissues and corn flakes.

Do I think that a brand that evokes uniqueness is right for the audience? Sure. But telegraphing its uniqueness is not the right move and undermines the mission. Why? Their target audience cares deeply, deeply about discovering their passions rather than being told. All advice about marketing to millennials deals with this (Want a good intro to how to gently help millennials discover a brand? Read the story behind PBR’s massive resurgence.) It is impossible to discover how cool and unique a brand is if they are calling themselves just that. In fact it feels like pandering.

That’s not to mention the Naming 101 reasons Uniquely J doesn’t shine.

For one, it’s unwieldy — a borderline tongue twister (Uniquely J Uniquely J Uniquely J). And for two, it harkens to the stock –ly names of the past, the mere allusion to which should be avoided at all cost.

And I will end with this: though the adverb + noun construction was perhaps once raffish and fun, now it feels really 90s, a la “Suddenly Susan.” (I thought that trend ended with “That’s So Raven.”) The fact is, branding strategies are different now than they were even 20 years ago, driven by changing tastes, increased marketing saturation, and a search for domain names, among other things. This name doesn’t feel quite with the times.

A tourist town boutique could easily get away with a name that felt a few decades late. I could see Uniquely J as Jay-Z’s (ironic) response to Snoop Dog and Martha Stewart’s cooking collaboration. But it doesn’t work well for chasing the elusive metro millennial.

Final Grade:



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