Have you ever stopped for a moment to think about all the brands whose names contain intentional misspellings, grammar errors and punctuation flaws?
Here in Chicago, we’re home to companies like SuperValu (missing an ‘e’ there), OfficeMax, Allstate, and RedBox (separate those words, people). That’s just one region. Take the conversation to the national level and the number of error-laden brand names is huge.
There’s Proactiv, Chick-fil-A, Froot Loops, Krispy Kreme, and Toys “Я” Us. It’s especially common with websites like Reddit, Tumblr, Digg and Flickr. The list goes on, as Matthew J.X. Malady points out in a recent Slate article
He set out to understand why brands would purposely inject an error into their very public brand name.
According to consumer-brand expert Vanitha Swaminathan, it’s all about being memorable.
She tells Malady:
There’s a famous theory in psychology that says that moderate amounts of incongruity—if it’s just somewhat different, but not too, too different—increase involvement. It increases people’s interest, and they want to process the information more. At the same time, when you’re extremely incongruous, which means that you neither are communicating anything about the category you’re in or you’re not communicating anything about the brand attributes, you’re just different for the sake of difference, consumers are unable to figure out what you’re about, and they will just completely reject the information.
The article points out that there’s often a story behind these errors, which add to a company’s story. Lands’ End, for example, ended up taking on their apostrophe error due to a printing mistake in 1964 that the company couldn’t afford to correct.
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So, I suppose there are those that can be forgiven.