Thursday, January 28, 2010

iBetThereWereNoWomenInvolvedInNamingThat

So, Apple made the long-awaited announcement yesterday regarding its new tablet.

Most Apple fans (of which I am one) knew it was coming, so much of the talk was about what its features would be and what it would be called -- iTablet? (iTab for short?) iSlate?

***insert buzzer sound here***

Nope. "iPad is the name," one of my friends posted as his Facebook status shortly after the unveiling event began. My immediate comment in response? "HORRIBLE."

And the more I thought about it, the more I hated the name.

My first tweet about it was a knee-jerk reaction (and I really did intend for it to be my only tweet on the subject):

Dear Apple: This is what I think of when someone says "pad": http://bit.ly/a2yxJg. Product naming FAIL.

Then I observed some of the conversations about the name -- finding that a lot of people actually agreed with me -- and something clicked in the "sassy writer" part of my brain. Might as well use my creativity to take things a step further and develop a tagline, no?

Here's what I came up with (and then tweeted, much to the amusement of a few people [Thanks for being amused, by the way!]):

"For when your iPhone is too small, but your MacBook is more than you need ..."

Yep, I said it.

And while this was all done in jest, it brought me back to a legitimate, professional point I've pondered before: Were there any marketing/communications folks at the table when that product was being named? My guess is no, but I don't know for sure. At the very least, I'm guessing there were no women at the table.

One of my friends went as far as to make this assessment. And while it's a bit extreme, it's also humorous: "This thing was probably named by uber-geeks who eat Skittles and Cheetos for dinner and have never even dreamed of having a date with a woman, therefore the lack of knowledge about what a 'pad' in this context refers to." (And yes, it was a man who said this.)

Anyway, back to the conversation about involving marketing/communications pros in the naming process ...

The first product that really made me ponder this was one that, when I first mentioned it on Twitter and in conversations, people hadn't really heard of yet, but I've noticed some others making observations about it as of late. I mean, really ... where were the professional communicators when this product was being named?


They must've been locked away somewhere with the communications folks at Apple, I think ...


(iPad image is a screen capture from Apple.com)

[NOTE: After reading this blog post by Jason Falls -- as well as some of the comments below -- I realized it would be beneficial to clarify: My dislike for and criticism of the iPad name are not "political correctness" issues and are not based on a perception of sexism/anti-feminism. (Really, folks?!) I'm also not "offended" by the name. I just don't like the name and think Apple could've used more foresight -- and, perhaps, a woman's touch -- in selecting it. Plain and simple.]

8 comments:

  1. Let's not make more of this than it really is. Before your time, there was a computer company named Wang - YES I AM SERIOUS - look it up. If we keep compiling a list of "no-no" words, we will have to start name things in click talk and I don't want to go there! BTW, I have been suffering with Aciphex for a long time.

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  2. I still love my Wang to this day.

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  3. I have tried to stay out of this…but can’t be quiet. This is just one more thing in long list of HUH!!!… So I have to weight in on the “iPad” …

    OMG!!!!! This flap about the iPad is absolutely ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They did not call it … the “iKotex” or “iFeminine Hygiene Product” or “iStayfree” or even the “iPantyliner”! Fact is… Tablet and Notebook were taken!!!!!!!
    I guess print shops that produce small stacks of notepaper glued together on one edge will have to change the name of the glue used …to oh.. I don’t know.. something like “glue to hold a stack of paper together” instead of “padding glue”(see the word “””PAD””” is in there). And we should no longer refer to that stack of paper as a “PAD”… we don’t want to confuse the youngins. We’ll have a whole generation trying to write a grocery list on a sanitary pad. So Please tell us… what will you have us call that small stack of paper and Apple’s newest product???
    And…..
    No one asked if “Mork from Ork” had anything to do with the naming of the “iPod” or maybe it was the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” or did someone just have a thing for peas!!!!!

    Lindsay you and all your little friends need to get a life.... Love, Mom

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  4. iPod, iPhone, iPad....it's a pattern of using something that begins with a "P". While I think the name is a little "eh", I understand why they did it.

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  5. Oh jesus! Someone's touchy!

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  6. Awesome. Love the clarification, but enjoy your points as well. Hope my post didn't feel like it was pointed at you specifically. Thanks!

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  7. i just don't get the hub-bub over the name. feminine hygiene is not the first thing i think of when i hear the term "pad." then again, i'm a man. but what's the big deal? we've been referring to laptops as note books and note pads for years now. just because apple follows their typical naming convention, we suddenly turn into children and assign some clearly unrelated meaning to it? i'm surprised we're not giggling every time somebody refers to basketBALLS or footBALLS...

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  8. @Jason F: Oh, heavens no! Between the comments and your post, I realized there's a lot of room for misinterpretation of intent if it's not specified. It didn't even occur to me that some people might actually be *offended* by the name and/or were calling it sexist, politically incorrect, etc. until I read your post and thought more about some of the comments I'd seen here and on Facebook. At that point, I figured I should clarify that I'm not offended by the name and just thought it was a bad move. :)

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