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  1. Teeter totter or sparkling water? Recess name review

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    Schoolchildren rejoice, and then grab your parents’ credit card! You can now buy Recess on the internet! …KIDDING. Recess is carbonated water infused with hemp extract (specifically, 10 mg of CBD) and adaptogens that retails for $40 an 8-pack. It is most assuredly for adults.


    But at the same time, it isn’t really a seltzer. You can buy a liter of seltzer for 99 cents at any grocery store or gas station if you want something to slake your thirst. Recess takes 5+ days to arrive by mail. Recess isn’t so much for thirst but for… everything that “recess” represents. Nostalgia. Joy. Freedom. And Recess earnestly acknowledges that it isn’t really selling a beverage. The website proudly proclaims, “We canned a feeling.”

    The New York Times wrote a very entertaining piece about the evolution of the millennial aesthetic from ironic to treating ironic things so earnestly that it isn’t clear that there’s any irony at all. (See exhibit A: Astrology. Is its exploding popularity… real? Is it ironic? Does it matter? And who could forget the extremely germane exhibit B: Adult Preschool.) And the total brand package from the name to the colors, fonts, and social media totally embraces this earnest irony. But we’re here to talk about the name Recess—and what a name it is!


    Recess (the free period, aka everyone’s favorite class) happens in the the glorious afternoon, a respite from care and obligation. A time to stretch ones legs and go unsupervised. It’s a daily activitywhich I’m sure Recess the bev would love for you to mimic as well. The beverage also shares a name (which is, btw, fine from a trademark perspective in this case) with a beloved late 90s TV cartoon, a fact undoubtedly not lost on most of this drink’s quenchers.

    And the most interesting branding decision to me was the fact that Recess has no literal branding link to wellness, despite the prominent wellness ingredients (CBD oil and “adaptogens for balance and clarity”) and the fact that it sold at a price point that clearly suggests it is a health and wellness product.

    And I think there are at least three good reasons for this brand positioning, and the name that arose from it.

    1. Branding around wellness is evolving. The past few years have seen a boom in wellness products, and rightly so, as the market gets saturated, brands need to evolve to stay fresh. Recess gets to wellness subtly. There is a nice resonance between the care-free, outdoor liberation evoked by recess and the aims of many wellness products: relieving stress and freeing one from the physical and mental constraints caused by it.

    2. CBD oil specifically has gotten a lot of press about how nebulous and, well, unproven its health benefits are. If science continues to be skeptical of itor even find it to be unhealthybest to not hitch your horse to that cart completely. If CBD oil goes away, the beverage can live on.

    3. Recess broadens the group of people who may seek out the beverage. It allows people who aren’t primarily seeking a wellness product to feel good drinking a Recess. The joy and innocence that consumers seek grabbing a Coke can be redirected toward Recess (more easily than it can be directed to, say, a clearly wellness-oriented drink like kombucha). Some people want a sweet pick-me-up in the afternoon. Some people want caffeine. Some people just want a break from their shift as a desk jockey. Recess offers something for all of those people, and in a way that maintains room for the act of consumption to lie in the earnest irony zone that the New York Times identifies. By that I mean…

    Are you drinking it earnestly, because of the health benefits? Sure!

    Or because CBD comes from weed, and that’s kinda funny? Yup!

    Or are you ironically drinking it because paying 5 bucks for a can of weed oil and seltzer delivered by FedEx is pretty much a caricature of your generation? I’ll admit, yes!

    Or, just because you saw it on Instagram and liked the packaging and branding? Totally!

    The name/brand allows for it all.

    The market has validated Recess’s position with a number of copycats already emerging. Daydream, a Canadian company, has picked up on the brand’s tone and personality, color scheme, and even site design. But the New York-based Recess is not overly concerned, “We’re bigger than the beverage” Recess founder and CEO Benjamin Witte said to AdWeek.

    Apparently so. Recess fans alerted the company to the copycats before they even went on the market.

    Millennialswho have probably seen and heard an average of 100 ads per day every day for their entire livesdon’t often take to things that seem too targeted at them or too straight-edged and self-important. They like vintage clothing. Record players. Mason jars. They like to discover things, like La Croix, PBR, and Pumpkin Spice novelties. And that makes creating new products and marketing and branding for that generation (my generation, btw) kind of challenging.

    The brilliance of Recess is that the name says to millennials: we get your aesthetic, we get your impulses and needs, and we’re creating a product that is both sincere and ridiculous, nostalgic and contemporary, which allows you to drink it ironically or earnestly or anywhere in between.

  2. Kames Capital in Investment Week

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    Kames Capital has appointed Thomas Hanson to the new role of head of high yield fixed income and as co-manager of a trio of funds following the departure of high yield co-manager Jack Holmes.

    In his role as co-manager, Hanson will work alongside co-manager Mark Benbow on the Kames High Yield Bond, Kames High Yield Global Bond and Kames Short Dated High Yield Bond funds. Hanson will be based in Kames Capital’s Edinburgh office. …

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  3. Attending INTA next week? Drop by the Catchword booth for a chance to win!

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    International Trademark AssociationThe 141st Annual Meeting of the International Trademark Association takes place in Boston May 18-22, and Catchword will be there!

    More than 10,000 trademark attorneys, brand owners, government officials, academics, and other IP pros (like Catchword!) from 150+ countries will descend on Beantown to talk trademark trends and network like nobody’s business.

    The team is super excited to discuss how Catchword can help trademark professionals and their clients develop brand names that are creative, strategic, AND ownable.

    Say hi to the Catchword team at booth number 345, and enter our raffle or daily Naming Contest.

    Raffle: Just drop a business card in the jar for a chance to win a Fitbit Inspire HR™ (winner will be selected May 22).

    Daily Naming Contest: Do you have what it takes to be a professional namer? Each day our team will post a photo of an unusual imaginary product at the Catchword booth, and you’ll decide what it should be called. At the end of the day, Mark and Maria will select the most engaging and creative name as the winner. If that’s yours, you’ll receive a gift card from Uber, Starbucks, or Amazon!

    Look forward to seeing you there!


  4. Catchword wins Hermes Gold for Soluna

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    Catchword’s excellence in naming was recognized this week with a Gold from the Hermes Creative Awards, one of the largest international competitions for creative work. The award was presented to Catchword for its development of Soluna for the world’s first sustainably powered blockchain infrastructure company.

    “Catchword is delighted to see Soluna recognized with a Hermes Gold,” said Catchword principal and project lead, Mark Skoultchi. “We couldn’t be more proud to receive such an honor, particularly in our first year participating in this prominent competition.”

    Hermes Creative Awards recognizes achievement in concept, writing, and design. The 2019 winners were selected from tens of thousands of entries in advertising, publications, marketing/branding, integrated marketing, public relations/communications, electronic media, and pro bono.

    “This week’s Gold is actually the second win for Soluna, which was honored last November with a Transform Award for Naming Strategy,” noted Catchword Creative Director Erin Milnes. “I’m thrilled that the judges recognized Soluna‘s rich layers of meaning, which seamlessly convey both the brand’s functional and emotional benefits.”

    Ms. Milnes further commented that the Catchword team developed Soluna to focus on the new company’s vision rather than its current offering, so that the name would successfully serve as the firm evolves beyond blockchain, a critical consideration when creating a company name. “Great brand names reveal metaphor and depth as the customer interacts with the brand. This back and forth rewards continued brand engagement with a satisfying ‘Aha!’ and stakes out another chunk of mental real estate for the brand,” she explained.

    What is Soluna?

    Soluna was formed to solve the serious problem of blockchain mining’s tremendous demand for energy. By powering its vertically integrated facilities with its own private sustainable energy sources, the startup will be able to mine cryptocurrencies and carry out other computing-intensive operations with less adverse impact on the environment and local power grids. The founders turned to Catchword to create a name that could match the humanity and ambition of this enterprise.

    Why Soluna?

    A coinage of sol and luna (‘sun’ and ‘moon’ in Latin), Soluna evokes human aspiration at its most fundamental—looking up at the great light in the sky. Sun + moon further suggests the promise of reliable, renewable energy day or night, and recalls solution as well as una (‘one’), suggesting the company’s all-in-one energy production and computer processing solution.

    Soluna’s soft vowel ending conveys the brand’s warm personality, while its Latin base suggests expertise and sophistication. And its consonant-vowel construction enables Soluna to be easily pronounced by the company’s international target audiences.

    The Awards

    Hermes Creative Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, an international organization of marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production, and freelance professionals.

    AMCP judges are experienced industry professionals looking for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.

    Named after the Greek messenger god Hermes, the competition highlights the role of marketing and communications professionals as messengers and creators.

  5. Agari in Washington Post

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    The 2020 Census faces major cybersecurity risks that could compromise the personal information of hundreds of millions of Americans.

    But Congress doesn’t seem to be paying much attention.

    When lawmakers convened Tuesday for a hearing about the decennial count, government auditor Nick Marinos described a litany of vulnerabilities that could leave Americans’ information hackable — and that are far more pressing because this is the first census that will be conducted primarily online. …

    A study by the email security firm Agari of 12 candidates found that only two of them were fully using the tool called Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, or DMARC — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, who is launching a long-shot challenge to President Trump for the Republican nomination.

    DMARC basically verifies that emails that look as if they come from an organization’s Web domain — such as — were actually sent from that domain.

    Another email security firm, ValiMail, showed me a separate tally that found former vice president Joe Biden was also protected by DMARC — but was directing phony emails to recipients’ spam folders rather than rejecting them entirely.

    Agari Chief Marketing Officer Armen Najarian told me that sending phishing emails to a spam folder isn’t good enough when it comes to political campaigns, though. He noted that the spearphishing email that allowed Russian hackers to compromise Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign first arrived in chairman John Podesta’s spam folder. … Catchword in Washington Post

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  6. Why your favorite brand names are starting to look like math problems

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    Two plus one equals three. In the span of that many weeks, consumers were introduced to a trio of subscription services promising to add to their lives: Apple News+ and Apple TV+, plus one from Disney, aptly titled­­—Disney+. They’ll complement a growing roster of arithmetic-branded media services, joining Disney-owned ESPN+ and following in the footsteps of the original “plus” brand in tech, Google+.

    Things didn’t work out so well for the latter. The Internet giant shut down the social network in April after seven years. And while Google+ ultimately failed because of competition with Facebook and a massive privacy breach, its name didn’t do much to encourage engagement in the first place, branding experts say.

    “That’s the biggest problem with [this type of name],” says Laurel ­Sutton, cofounder of brand-naming agency Catchword. “It doesn’t tell you anything at all. It doesn’t tell you what you’re getting; it doesn’t say why it’s different. It’s just adding a superlative on the end—like saying ‘ultra’ or ‘supreme’ or ‘better.’ ” …

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    (Go to link above, or thumb to page 6 of Fortune’s May 2019 issue.)

  7. Gaming the system: Stadia name review

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    Google has announced the name of its all-encompassing gaming platform that aims to—you guessed it—revolutionize gaming. The platform is called Stadia.

    Google claims Stadia will be able to run complex games in the cloud and stream them to your device (with no latency at 60fps), rather than the current method, where games must run on a specific piece of hardware. The theoretical benefits of this are numerous—the biggest of which is the ability to play all of your games on whatever device you happen to be carrying at the moment. This new gaming paradigm will also allow users to seamlessly switch between streaming and playing, so they could, for example, watch other gamers live and then at the tap or click of a button, jump into the game themselves to play alongside the people they were watching or to simply play the game themselves.

    But enough about the tech.

    For those who don’t talk about multiple large sports-viewing venues that often, stadia is a real word—one of the accepted pluralizations of stadium (and the one that clearly acknowledges the word’s Latin origins).

    The name heavily emphasizes our collective growing interest in watching other people play video games, and for Google to name its platform with such a focus on spectatorship is noteworthy. Viewing is just as important —if not more—than playing video games. (And not just for video games. A heckuva lot more people watch football than play it in the back yard.)

    Further, the name also acknowledges that for many people today, a major motivator to play games is the possibility of celebrity, to build a following of spectators who like to watch you play and hear your in-game commentary.

    Like the names of many of Google’s other services, Stadia feels open and welcoming (mainly because it ends in a lighter, more feminine vowel sound) and is clearly meant to appeal to a wide range of people. (The stereotype that “gamers” are mostly young men—either single or with very forgiving partners—sitting around shooting aliens, Nazis, or just shooting each other, is clearly refuted by data, by the way.) Although the name is welcoming and friendly, it also has an epic-ness to it as you can’t ignore the size and scale of Stadia’s literal meaning. Stadia is the big tent of big tents.

    The only shortcomings of the name are really the flip sides of its strengths. That welcoming, lighter sound is pretty soft for fans of war, adventure, or survival games like Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, or Resident Evil. And the word stadia‘s association with ball sports, while a slam dunk for players of NBA Live, might make it harder for lovers of role-playing, construction, simulation, and many other game genres to feel at home.

    However, particularly given the crowded space Stadia occupies, it’s impressive that Google was able to find an ownable, relevant, international, short name that sounds welcoming and awe-inspiring at the same time.

    Stadia may indeed end up the place where Fortnite fans and Klondike Solitaire junkies come together. Game on.

  8. GoMotion goes live with a new name from Catchword

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    Image courtesy of SportsEngine, Inc.

    GoMotion, SportsEngine’s all-in-one platform for sport studio owners and instructors, has rebranded with a new look and a new name from Catchword. Formerly called SE  Studio, GoMotion makes it easy to manage activity classes, registration, payments, website, and more.

    “We are excited to announce the rebrand of SE Studio to GoMotion,” said Tom Fristoe, Vice President, New Markets, SportsEngine, Inc., in a release. “The name GoMotion connects the forward movement in sports and technology.”

    SportsEngine, Inc., a division of NBC Sports Group, provides software solutions and mobile applications for 23,000 youth sports organizations and is used by millions of athletes, coaches, clubs, and parents annually. The company needed a new name for SE Studio, its suite of B2B software solution for schools that teach sports and arts such as gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, ice skating, tennis, and martial arts. The existing name’s reference to the company name was causing confusion with customers, and the word studio wasn’t a good fit for schools that teach in a classroom, rink, or gymnasium.

    The new name needed to express the brand’s approachability and enthusiasm, and be instantly understood by studio owners, parents, and students.

    Brian Bell, SportsEngine President, stated, “With GoMotion we’re positioned to expand the markets we serve to include really any sport or activity that can benefit from a best-in-class sport relationship management solution.”

    “GoMotion helps coaches and instructors focus on their students rather than the back office,” said Catchword Executive Creative Director and co-founder Maria Cypher.  “We’re proud to have renamed such a game-changing platform—pun intended,” she added with a smile.




  9. Pi Charging expands its brand with a new name from Catchword: Spansive

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    Wireless charging startup Pi Charging just unveiled a new direction for the company and a new name, courtesy of Catchword: Spansive.

    CEO and cofounder John MacDonald explained in a post on Medium that the new name, born from the word expansive, means “growth, expansion, and action” and reflects the company’s growing team and expanding business and vision.

    Image courtesy of Spansive


    Image courtesy of Spansive


    Pi approached Catchword in 2018 to create a new name that could grow with the company long-term. It had to match the company’s innovative spirit that transcends technology while expressing its vision of a world where a wireless device is charged as easily and with as little thought as setting it on a table.

    Winner of Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt 2017, Pi made a big splash with its cone-shaped wireless charger that could power devices within a foot in any direction. After extensive user testing, the company found that the prototype had several challenges that could not be overcome and decided to shift direction.

    Spansive plans to roll out a new consumer product this summer capable of charging multiple phones using the Qi standard and won’t require a special case. We can’t wait to see it!

    Congratulations to the team at Spansive!

  10. Spansive in TechCrunch

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    Pi Charging is changing course and changing names. It’ll now be known as Spansive.

    As Pi, the company had been working on a cone-shaped wireless charger that would sit on a desk and allow the user to charge devices placed within about 12 inches in any direction. It would require a case to work with existing devices, with the trade-off of not requiring the user to place their device directly on top of a charging pad. They showed this device at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in 2017, where the company won the Startup Battlefield competition. … Catchword-named company in TechCrunch

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