; ) Be Dope archive *  icon tarot *  qJLG * haiku
interviews *  bookstore *  newsletter

visit mikepop.net for more info about Mike Popovic

10 January, 2001 11.17am pst | Rascal Edition
Sony e Villa Takes Home Top CES Honors
e [pause] Villa

BE DOPE NEWS (BDN) Sony's new internet appliance, e Villa, took home the highest accolades the Consumer Electronics Show has to offer yesterday, when they won the prestegious "Excellence in Product Name Innovation" award by a unanimous vote.

"Just when you think there is no place to go in the 'lowercase vowel-uppercase word' genre, leave it to a big name like Sony to pull this off," gushed Elliot Lehman, chairman of the judge's panel.

"This" of course refers to Sony's groundbreaking move of detaching the lowercase letter (in this case "e") from the rest of the product name ("Villa"). Just minutes after the product announcement, the news of this innovation swept through marketing and PR departments like wildfire.

"By separating the 'e' Sony has created both an audio and visual pause in the name of their product - thus redefining the entire industry of product naming," explained linguistic historian Dr. Lori Hudson. "Newscasters, when reporting on the device, will double the time it takes to pronounce the name of the device when dealing with that pause - effectively increasing the overall exposure of the brand. Plus, the pause literally gives pause to the listener. Instead of the name 'eVilla' flashing by as just another lowercase-uppercase combo, the post-lowercase pause will catch the listener's attention in much the same way as a band does when it unexpectedly changes the beat of their music. The entire body is thrown out of rhythym and the focus of the brain is forced to focus on this discrepency to regain equilibrium. Plus, the pause gives the potential consumer time to reflect and ask what does the (in this case) 'e' really mean to me? Is it 'entertainment', 'easy', 'electronic', 'ectasy', 'enjoyment', or perhaps all of these or none of these. The listerner ends up on a philosophical journey that he will forever associate with the Sony e Villa."

According to Hudson, the strategy also succeeds in the print medium.

"Whether on a billboard, in a magazine or on the web, people's eyes will be draw to those free-standing letter 'e's. Over time [english-speaking] people have grown accustomed to seeing the letters 'I' and 'a' on their own. But the unadorned 'e' catches the reader's eye and forces them to ask 'Why is that "e" floating around there? Hmmmm', thus drawing them into the article, advertisement or whatever context the e Villa is appearing."

Unlike other product naming styles that are quickly copied and replicated by other companies, Hudson expects the detached e convention will remain unique, at least for some time.

"At this point, copying the detached e would be like forging the Mona Lisa - no one would have respect for any company that did it," theorized Hudson. "Furthermore, I would not be surprised is Sony was granted a patent on the entire process."


New Stories
New stories by the author of Be Dope can be found at Segfault.org

e Villa Celebration
Did you know all of Be Dope's e Villa stories are available via one handy page?

Be Dope Merchandise
These remaining tshirts are sure to be a collector's item someday. Buy now.

Home | qJLG | Icon Tarot | Story Archive | Interviews | Bookstore | Newsletter | About | Advertise | Contact