Good marketing often contradicts intuitions and instincts. Those wishing to cling to their intuitions find solace in the fact that big companies are just as likely to make mistakes as little ones.
Kimberly-Clark, a huge company and umbrella brand, chose "Huggies" as the name of a line of diapers. "Huggies" is a descriptive name in that it implies in a not-so-subtle way that it is comfortable and effective. (Similarly, Procter and Gamble sells the "Pampers" line of diapers.) Yet descriptive names generally don't make good brand names.
I can hear it now: "If Kimberly-Clark's marketing department decided on a descriptive name, why shouldn't we?"
I should point out that, aside from its descriptiveness, "Huggies" is actually a pretty good name. It is easy to pronounce, easy to spell, and slightly shocking - all attributes that foster brand recall and recognition. Plenty of products succeed despite a descriptive name.
But let's put to rest the idea that big, successful companies don't make marketing mistakes. Fortunately, Laura Ries debunks this notion on a regular basis. In her latest blog entry, she tears into seven successful companies for recent marketing decisions they've made.