“Alphabet Soup” (#1331)

Internet Premiere
Friday, 9/18 @ 12:00pm ET
Detroit Public TV
Sunday, 9/20 @ 10:30am ET
(Original Airdate)

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  1. PLAYING: Entire Show

  2. Open: John's Opening Thoughts

  3. Segment 1: How Automakers Name Vehicles


    • Nina Beckhardt, President & Creative Director, Namebase


  4. Close: John's Closing Thoughts

  5. EXTRA: Nina Beckhardt, President & Creative Director, Namebase



Nina Beckhardt, President & Creative Director, Namebase, Jean Halliday, Advertising Age, Peter De Lorenzo, Autoextremist.com. Topic: The art and science that goes into naming vehicles.

"What's in a name?" When William Shakespeare wrote this question for Juliet Capulet in "Romeo and Juliet," it was a vehicle to release the characters from the bondage of their family names. While that undoubtedly worked as a theme in this classic tragedy, good old Bill didn't publish the work untitled because he knew how important a name really is when trying to draw patrons into a theater, customers into a store or buyers to a product.

That's why a name in today's high pressure retail world has never been so critical. With a cornucopia of seemingly endless products and advertisers blanketing a consumer's every waking moment, you've got to machete through the clutter to make a name memorable.

This is where some critics believe many of today's automakers have fallen short. From the "alphabet soup" of certain luxury brands to the head-scratching monikers of some midsize fare, customers sometimes don't know if they're buying a car or a croissant.

So this is where a company like Namebase, Inc. comes along. This New York firm specializes in designing a name to a product so they fit in a variety of ways. It has clients in a number of industries and has named everything from goods that you wear, to products you consume, and most importantly for this show, those that you park in your garage.

Joining John McElroy on this week's panel to discuss the auto industry name game is Nina Beckhardt, the president and creative director of Namebase, Inc., Jean Halliday from Advertising Age and Peter De Lorenzo of Autoextremist.com.