Accidental product placement: Teen Spirit

Kurt Cobain

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana was the rock/cultural anthem of the 1990s. It started grunge which, just like the Renaissance, liberated us from the oppression (of the 1980s). What many do not know is that this song is named after a deodorant which survives today as Colgate-Palmolive Lady Speed Stick.

Lessons to learn from this accidental product placement of a deodorant in a rock/cultural anthem:
1) Abstract (brand) names can change their meaning easily,
2) Abstract names require much more content to maintain their meaning, which is an additional investment,
3) Names themselves are not a guarantee of equity. If you buy a name and change the product and content, the sales will drop.

Abstract names offer a lot of flexibility and allow companies to remain competitive by updating the values that the name represents, but also require higher content investment. Flexibility is very important, but it costs.

Written by: Nikola Tosic
Publishing date: 28 Sep 2019