Pharmaceutical products stand strong in the field of “whacky names.” Some give a hint as to what they do – think Lipitor and Flomax, and some don’t – think Zocor and Harnal. Over-the-counter drugs often get more literal: Flonase, Aleve, Nytol.
But GSK really nailed it in 2007 with alli, the first weight loss drug approved by the U.S. government for over-the-counter use. What started as a capsule became an entire program – all the bells and whistles from nutrition advice to calorie counters to online communities. It has been shown that dieters who maintain a line of support – to professionals, family, or to other dieters – tend to see longer-term progress. So “ally” seemed a perfect name.
Unless you spell it “alli.” Note the lower case “a.” And if you view the logo, you’ll note the long-vowel symbol over the “i.” GSK committed cardinal sin #27: “If your product or brand requires a pronunciation guide…”
Meantime, one of the entities swept up in the shit storm financial crisis was General Motors Acceptance Corporation. You might guess what happened based on the first two words in its name. This financing company, through which you might have once held a car loan, became a bank holding company to feed at the trough of TARP.
In May of 2009, GMAC decided banking would be a cool gig, becoming one for real, not just for TARP. But “GMAC Bank” didn’t sound so nice, given GM’s history and all. So it named itself “ally.” Perhaps it wanted the name “alli” and found it was taken. Once again, you’ll note the lower-case “a.”
So who is the real ally?
Is it Ally Bank, a purely online bank with just a handful of base offerings, with no branches to visit and no human hands to shake, and a tagline…“It’s your money. Not ours.”…that manages to be both meaningless and bullshit, at one and the same time?
Or is it alli, who has all the offerings and messaging covered like a nice warm blanket?
By being too cute by half, GSK left an opening that it now plugs with the URL www.myalli.com.
www.alli.com? “Domain disabled.”