“Go ahead. Make my spray.” – Mr. Clean

It’s almost that time again.

Time to select the top ten names or slogans from this past year that passed the Eyebrow Test with flying colors. These names join winners from past years which include Java Jacket, Diabesity, Weeding By Example, Freakonomics and Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

“What’s the Eyebrow Test?” you ask. It’s what happens when we hear or see something intriguing. Our eyebrows go UP as if to say, “That’s interesting. Tell me more.”

Congrats to these individuals and organizations for coining these catchy sound-bites that caught and kept our favorable attention – the goal of all communication.

Bamelot: This is the name the New York Post has given the incoming administration. It’s what we call in POP! a Half-and-Half Word – a fused version of two words that coins a new name or phrase.

Scads: Those little scam ads (another Half-and-Half Word) that show up when surfing online. A clever ad in USA Today sponsored by the Alliance Against Bait & Click suggests you practice “safe search” and ignore these deceptive ads with their made-up claims to trick you into buying stuff that ought to be free.

Isn’t It Their Turn to Pick Up the Check? This book by Jeanne Hemming and Leonard Schwarz from Free Press demonstrates the power of POP!ing a question to engage interest and pique curiosity – and the power of saying what people are thinking to win buy in.

Buyology: You’ve heard of Spell Check? This is an example of Spell Chuck where you riff of a common word and create a brand new word you can trademark (thereby creating a business empire with the power to generate revenue in perpetuity). What would you call the science of how and why we buy? How about BUYology? Kudos to author Martin Lindstrom for this fantastic book title.

Check back Dec. 20 for the rest of the POP! Hall of Fame — and it’s not too late to submit your nominations.

Have you seen or heard a business name or slogan that made your eyebrows go UP?

Send it to me at info@SamHorn.com in by Dec. 18 and it may be included in the final top ten list. If it is, you get an autographed copy of POP! and the POP! CD! with innovative ways to create attention-grabbing pitches, titles and taglines to get your priority project noticed and remembered . . . for all the right reasons.

Every year, the Global Language Monitor runs a HollyWORD survey to identify the top ten memorable phrases from movies.

This year’s winners?

#3. George Clooney’s line from Michael Clayton: “I’m not the guy you kill; I’m the guy you buy off.”

#2. Daniel Day-Lewis’ snarl from There Will Be Blood: “I drink your milkshake.”

And the top spot goes to Javier Bardem’s coin-flipping catchphrase “Call it, Friendo” from No Country for Old Men.

Are you thinking, “Big deal.”

Actually, it IS a big deal.

As Hollywood director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) said in his keynote for Maui Writers Conference (www.MauiWriters.com ), “Film directors know that if people walk out of your movie repeating a phrase they heard, that movie will make money.”

Why? It means audience members are taking the movie home with them. They’re talking about it around the water-cooler, in the office, to their friends; which means they are serving as free viral marketers and word-of-mouth advertisers for you.

What are some famous movie money phrases you can repeat word-for-word? I’m guessing you still remember:

Jack Nicholsen – “You can’t handle the truth.”

Arnold “the Governator” Schwarzenegger – “I’ll be back.”

Clint Eastwood – “Make my day.”

Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire – “You had me at hello.”

“Here’s looking at you, kid” from Casablanca.

The fact that you still remember those phrases means those movies have “legs.” Of all the thousands of films made in the past few decades, they’re the ones still being talked about. They’re the ones that live on.

What’s that mean for you?

When you speak, do audience members walk out repeating something you said, telling others about an idea you introduced? When people finish reading your article, book or blog, can they repeat an insight you made, a suggestion you shared? After hearing your song or seeing your commercial, can they repeat your catchphrase, word-for-word?

If not, everything you said or wrote just disappeared. People might as well not have heard it, seen it or read it. Because if they can’t remember it, what good is it?

Want to know how to create a money phrase that gets your message repeated and remembered? Want to know how to create headlines that get your articles read – titles that get your books bought – slogans that get your cause funded – brands that position you as as top-of-mind?

Sign up for my POP! Your Business, Book and Brand workshop at Washington DC’s historical National Press Club on April 25th. Invest in a day to develop Purposeful, Original, Pithy money phrases that get you and your priority projects noticed, remembered and bought.

Email us at Carey@SamHorn.com for a description of the workshop, a registration application, and to receive a free article with 3 Ways to Create a Money Phrase that Pays.

I promise . . this is not a bait and switch.

I said I’d report back about which Super Bowl ads were the funniest, most original, most buzz-worthy.

I watched and kept waiting and waiting and waiting. Waiting for an ad that was wildly creative. One that exceeded our expectations. One that was worth the millions spent on it ($2.7 for the 60 second time slot alone, not counting the agency fee, production budget, celebrity appearance, etc.)

Nada. Zip. Nothing.

One had a moving story line (the Budweiser Clydesdale being trained to make the team by his Dalmatian friend, ala Rocky), but in many of the ad meters the following day, a baby spitting up claimed the top spot.

Yikes.

I wanted to share something that DID catch my attention Super Bowl weekend. The following quote by football player Junior Seau POP!d out of the pack . . . for all the right reasons.

When asked by a reporter what it meant for his New England Patriots team to be going for a perfect 19-0 record, Seau said, “There’s good, great, and there’s ever. We have an opportunity to be an ‘ever.'”

The reporter picked right up on it. “You mean as in ‘best ever?”

Junior just smiled.

In a week of platitudes, Junior’s observation was Purposeful, Original and Pithy. Kudos.

Do you remember a few years ago there was a lot of buzz about a new mode of personal transportation (code-named IT or Ginger) that was going to change the world?

Dan Kamen, who also invented the first portable insulin pump, proudly premeired his creation in December of 2001. What did he call his gyroscope-based electric scooter?

Segway.

I can only guess this was intended to be a play on the word “segue” which means “leads to what’s next.”

Kamen had high hopes that people would use this two-wheeled, stand-up human transporter to get around town, lessening the need for and dependence on cars which would lead to reduced pollution, traffic congestion, etc.

The problem? Many people aren’t familiar with the word “segue.” They don’t use it, much less know how to spell it. Uh oh. A prescription for disaster. This pioneering product was given a name that elicited the deadly “huh?” response.

That’s a cautionary tale of what can happen when you fail to give your product an easy-to-understand name. This invention never really caught on, except as a novelty. I think it’s partially due to the fact it doesn’t have a fun-to-say, easy-to-remember name such as Google, Yahoo or Roomba.

There’s an interesting twist to this story. An entrepreneur in Washington DC realized that tourists visiting the national monuments, U.S. Capitol Building and Smithsonian got tired of walking from place to place.

Hmmm. Why not offer tours with Segways so people could visit more places in less time?

What to call this business? By playing off the title of a popular TV sitcom, he come up with a clever name that’s generated tons of free press and earned him a spot on my 2007 POP! Hall of Fame.

The winning brand? Segs in the City.

Do people “get” the name of your business, brand, or book? Do they look at you with blank eyes or do their eyes light up? If their eyebrows go up, congratulations! It means you got your idea’s foot in their mental door. If their eyebrows knit or furrow, it’s back to the drawing board.

Want to learn how to create a brand that people get and want? Go to http://www.SamHorn.com to purchase a copy of POP! Stand Out in Any Crowd. Edelman Sr. VP Marilynn Mobley says, “If you liked Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, you’ll love Sam Horn’s POP!”

Or, attend my POP! presentation at the INC Grow Your Business conference in Savannah, Georgia on March 11.

They’re One of Many

“It’s not enough to be the best at what you do,
you must be perceived as the only one who does what you do.” – Jerry Garcia

The hotel had a problem. No one was coming to their happy hours.

Why? There were dozens of restaurant/bars in their area hosting happy hours.

No wonder they weren’t making any money; they were blending in. And blending in is for Cuisinarts, not for businesses.

If you want to lose money, do what everyone else is doing. If you want to make money, figure out how to lead your crowd, not follow it.

In my ten years helping individuals and organizations develop one-of-a-kind identities and approaches so they can break out, I’ve met a lot of business owners who have spent a lot of money developing brands, business names and slogans that didn’t work. In fact, bad brands can cost you customers, income, momentum and market-share.

I’ve kept track of the worst branding mistakes businesses make. I share them in these posts so you can do the opposite of these errors and develop a Purposeful, Original and Profitable brand that POP’s out and gets you noticed . . . for all the right reasons.

The enterprising manager of that hotel with the unsuccessful happy hours kept looking for a way to be one-of-a-kind instead of one-of-many.

One day, he noticed that one of their loyal patrons tied his dog up outside when he came in for a cold one after work.

Light-bulb moment. Why not offer a special happy hour for people who wanted to bring their poor pooches who had been cooped up all day while their owner was away? The staff could put out water bowls, hand out dog biscuits and offer a discount on beer so it was a win for everyone.

What to call this? Well, use a POP! technique called Alphabetizing in which you talk your key word through the alphabet, “Appy Hour, Bappy Hour, Cappy Hour, Dappy Hour” . . . and you eventually get to Yappy Hour!

You may be thinking, “Big deal, so it’s a clever name.”

You bet it’s a big deal. The Washington Post wrote about the throngs of people showing up for the restaurant’s wildly popular (and profitable) Yappy Hour. That article was picked up by a hundred newspapers across the U.S. Now, millions of people know about the Alexandria, VA Holiday Inn’s one-of-a-kind Yappy Hour . . . all because the manager wasn’t content to be common.

Craig Wilson of USA Today is my favorite columnist because he has his finger on the pulse of pop culture. In today’s issue, he quotes trend-spotting ad agency JWT as saying, “”Custom-made and one-of-a-kind will rise about the mass-produced din of ‘now.'”

He’s right. People are yearning for something they haven’t seen, heard or experienced before.

If your business is not making as much money as it could or should; chances are you’re offering the same services and products as everyone else. Keep your antennae up for what customers want and can’t find . . . and offer that. It’s a way to stand out from the crowd instead of get lost in the crowd.

Their Brand is Too Bland

“Only dead fish swim with the stream all the time.” – Linda Ellerbee

People are bored with same old, same old. If you pleasantly surprise them with something they haven’t seen or heard before, they’ll reward you with their business. How can you turn a “yawner” into somethng eye-opening?

By doing the opposite, not the obvious. Here are several ways to introduce something that is unique instead of duplicating what’s already available.

* Go where your competitors aren’t. Enterprise wanted to enter the car rental business but Hertz and Avis dominated the market. So, Enterprise asked themselves, “What do our competitors all have in common?” Well, they’re all situated by airports. Instead of competing with established locations, Enterprise put their rental centers in neighborhoods where they had the territory all to themselves.

* Offer a service your competitors don’t. What didn’t the other rental car agencies provide? No pick up or drop off service – so Enterprise was the first to offer to pick you up and drop you off at your hotel or workplace. This above-and-beyound service has resulted in Enterprise becoming one of the top three agencies in that multi-billion dollar industry because they successfully identified two specific P.O.D.’s – Points of Distinction.

* Turn your industry on its head. After 40 years of pounding our palms against the bottom of catsup bottles in a futile effort to get the slow-moving condiment out, Heinz had a “Duh” moment and turned its bottles upside down so they now rest on the cap (and let gravity work its magic.) Target did something similar with an upside-down Christmas tree with the pointy part on the bottom. Their reasoning? More room for presents! This novel product generated tons of press and be-the-first-on-your-block-to-have-one sales.

* Be an UN. Ask yourself, “How are all my competitors alike? How can I be UN-like them?” This is what 7-Up did. Instead of going head to head with Coca-Cola and Pepsi, it offered an alternative to all the dark soda pops and became the UN-Cola.

* Reverse an industry norm. In the 60’s, Detroit auto-makers were turning out large, luxury automobiles. So, Volkswagon went small. They figured there were consumers who didn’t want or need a station-wagon or a four door, so they introduced the “Bug,” a two-door for budget-minded people (e.g., college students and young adults).

Volkswagon didn’t stop there. They capitalized on their P.O.D. in self-deprecating ads that turned their small size into a proud, viable option to gas-guzzlers. One full –page ad featured 75% blank space with a tiny Volkswagon Beetle in the center with a one-sentence caption that said, “It makes your house look bigger.” Kudos.

They’re Content with a Common Name

“When you can do a common thing in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” – George Washington Carver

Sure, you can call your business The Nail Place — or you can call it Texas Chainsaw Manicure. Guess which salon attracts clients from around the world because people read about it in a magazine or saw it featured on TV?

In the hyper-competitive meeting industry, Convention Visitor Bureaus have the daunting task of trying to convince corporations and associations to bring their meetings to their city . . . .when there are hundreds of other cities to choose from.

I had a chance to speak for MPI (Meeting Planners International), and met the Convention Sales Manager for Seattle’s CVB office in Washington DC. Stephanie told me Seattle hit the jackpot by coining an original brand – Metro-Natural -that’s generated a billion dollars (yes, that’s a b) in buzz and free publicity. That attention-grabbing term (what I call a Half & Half Brand in my book POP!) cleverly captures the dual nature of the city’s cosmopolitan yet park-like setting. Well done.

Want another example of the power of giving your business an uncommon name?

Jay Sorenson saw what everyone else saw – those cardboard insulating sleeves you put around your cup of coffee so you don’t burn your fingers– and turned them into a 15 million dollar a year business.

How? By giving a generic product a genius name – Java Jacket. Sorenson said, “That trademarked brand is worth more than our patents. It has such a dominant market awareness that people who meant to call our competitors call us instead.” That’s the power of giving a common product a catchy name that gets it noticed, remembered . . . and bought.