Thursday, November 11, 2010

Renault allowed to name car 'Zoe'

Since I've already posted on this issue twice - here and here - I thought I'd update about the latest development in the story.

Recap: Renault want to name their newest car 'Zoe' - it is a Zero Emission car and Zoe means 'life'. But the parents of two children named Zoe Renault (first name surname) have taken the company to court in France to try and block the name, claiming it would harm their children.

The result is that the judge has ruled that Renault can name a car Zoe. (see here).

This time, the idea of Renault naming a car Zoe sparked off in my mind ideas about created names. I was just wondering if the fashion for creating names is connected to the fashion in advertising of creating brand names from words that sound like something recognisable, but aren't actually a real word such as Pepsi Cola from pepsin and kola nuts, Popsicle from pop and icicle, Toblerone from Theodor Tobler and Italian torrone meaning 'nougat', and so on. So Kaylyn is recognisably linked to Kay and Lynn but it doesn't actually have a direct derivation from them, or Brayden from Brady and Aidan and so on. Or older names like Marlene and Darlene etc. Was there a connection between the rise of brand names from, say the late 19th century, and the rise of names that aren't directly derived from older names such as Elizabeth? I don't know, but that's what I have been wondering about.