Friday, May 21, 2010

More thoughts on the Renault Zoe

I wrote last November about the Renault Zoe, the story has not died completely. A Zoe Renault has hired lawyers to try to persuade Renault to scrap the name. The article (and I find it somewhat amusing that the journalist is a Zoe as well) brings up some interesting points about the danger of naming - mainly, you don't know what a name is going to be associated with in the future.

While the Renault family were probably well-aware of the car company when they named their daughter, they still avoided any of the Renault car names at the time - Espace, Fuego or a number (not exactly names you would choose anyway) or any other the more viable as name former car names eg Ondine, Dauphine or Floride. But they couldn't avoid the possibility that Renault may choose Zoe in the future - that was a gamble they had to make.

Of course, with the surname Renault, you would be aware that the danger of a different association primarily came from the car company. However, there are various other examples of simply a popular name (Adolf being the classic example) gaining a stigma because of an unexpected event/person/product. Of course, can you avoid that? Choosing a popular name, say Isabella, might avoid getting a product named after you - most popular products tend to choose more unusual names, but may end up with a famous or infamous figure in twenty years due to the higher proportion of Isabellas being born at the same time. Of course, that's ignoring what is partly responsible for pushing Isabella into its high popularity at the moment, Bella Swan from Twilight.

The answer could therefore to be to choose a completely obscure name, lowering the possibility of name being used elsewhere, but also increasing the danger that if it is used elsewhere then this will become solely associated with that thing (say actresses - Merle - like Oberon? Gwyneth - like Paltrow? Gabourey - like Sidibe? Angelina - like Jolie? Charlize - like Theron? etc.).