Brand naming greats (episode 1)

10 Jul 23

Standard interview question for brand naming role:

Can you tell us about a brand name you admire and why?

(Note the gaping trap: not a discussion about ‘successful brands’ – but a requirement to disentangle the name from performance, something which then never happens in the lifetime of a brand).

I’ve always really liked the name Twix.

One of those FMCG name changes that provoked a bit of fightback from The ManOnTheStreet, Raider re-emerged as Twix sometime in the early 90s I think. I still don’t know if it is a portmanteau of ‘twin sticks’ or ‘twin bix’ – frankly immaterial in a naming sense, as both rationales work. Apparently some Twitter debate a few years ago had Mars confirm ‘twin sticks’, but who knows…..heck, we can serve up any old biccy on a plate in the post-truth social media era, eh?

I like it because it’s sharp, short and onomatopoeic of a lovely crunchy biccy-type snacking moment. Whether derived from stick or biscuit, its naming beauty lies in what we like to call a ‘coined associative name’. It sounds like ‘bix’ and also delivers the ‘twin’ thing (product proposition + product format? Winner). It even nods to occasion – the snack of choice for those moments ‘twixt meals.

All rolled in to a four-letter, distinctive, trade markable bit of fun. Lovely.

Here’s the controversial bit – snacking-wise, it’s much more defined than a KitKat isn’t it? The name in fact helps me to understand its biccy role. I’m one of those bewildered souls bothered by what a KitKat is trying to be (the old chocolate bar v biscuit conundrum). A Twix so clearly wants to go with my afternoon cuppa – it can do other things, fill other snacking holes, but ultimately it knows its own biscuit worth and doesn’t need to fudge it (caramel works just fine).

(Brand naming interview terminated obviously – for I have fallen in to the aforementioned gaping trap).