Mark it down. March 21st, 2012. America officially ran out of good corporate names. You wouldn’t think that good corporate names would be a diminishing asset, like crude oil, but apparently it is. The evidence:

Christopher Weaver writing at the Health Blog:

Abbott Laboratories today christened the pharmaceutical division it will spin off into a separate, publicly traded company later this year: AbbVie (Abb-vee), a mashup of the parent’s moniker and the Latin word for life, plus, an endearing diminutive.

Later in another Chicago suburb, David Welch at Bloomberg notes:

Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT), the food manufacturer spinning off its grocery business later this year, will change its name to Mondelez International Inc. after the split as it seeks a new identity as a global snacks company.

Pronounced “Mohn-dah-LEEZ,” the new name is a combination of the Latin word for “world” and an expression meant to evoke the word “delicious,” Northfield, Illinois-based Kraft said today in a statement. The grocery business will be named Kraft Foods Group Inc.

First, if you have to include a pronunciation guide to your company name, it is likely a bad name. We don’t need any help pronouncing Apple, Nike or McDonald’s.

Second, these companies presumably paid some corporate identity consultants big bucks for these names. These companies would have been better off having an internal naming contest with $100 Amazon gift cards to the winners.*

This trend of cutsie names is long established in the Internet space. Now it seems to have bled over into the Fortune 500. Admittedly finding a corporate name these days with a decent available URL is tough, but it can’t be this tough. Let’s hope these companies come up with some more pronounceable ticker symbols.*


According to Deal Journal Mondelez International’s symbol will be:  $MDLZ. The name was formed with two separate employee suggestions among 1000 submitted. The WSJ and Dealbook have additional reactions to the Mondelez name.