Saw this ad/coupon for I guess what is a new orange juice beverage. It made me think that I had not seen too much alphanumeric food/drink naming. My curiosity took me on reconnaissance, where I made some interesting finds:

100% Grape
100 Grand
3 Musketeers
5th Season
7J
7UP
8th Continent
A.1.
Basic 4
Ezekiel 4:9
Fruit 66
G2
Heinz57
Nabisco 100cal
Product 19
V8

And then the almost alphanumeric:

Eight O’Clock Coffee
FiberOne
Five
Ichiban (mean “#1” or “first” in Japanese)
Ones

You can see images of some of these at http://www.flickr.com/photos/justback/

I like the use of alphanumerics in names if they are sufficiently merited. It can help when you must work within the sometimes narrow confines of packaging.

Back to the tropics and this brand. The name works for me. From a visual perspective, the round characters give you a sense that this will be filling… fulfilling not fattening. (You would not get the same effect if the drink were called, say, Trop42.) The “op50” — or 67% of the name — visually does that, which is interesting since normally the vowels “a,” “o” and “u,” as they are formed more towards the front or middle of the mouth, linguistically sound symbolize largeness or robustness or in the case of food, rich and caloric. Since the “50” aligns with offering you 50% less sugar and calories, this is good suggestive messaging. I also like the closeness of “trop” to the “drop.” A drop of something is small, appropriately sufficient. “Trop —” like “drop” —sounds quick and mobile, suggesting you can indulge without it costing you too much time or effort.

I was curious as to whether or not the naming was driven by the desire to secure a .com domain name. I don’t know Tropicana’s naming strategy as it relates to domains, but sure enough, the drink has its own: http://www.trop50.com/

I’m not crazy about the pseudo diacritical “leaf” over the “0” in 50. I know it is a nod to the “dotted i leaf” in the master brand name (which, by the way, waves at you on their site), but it detracts more than it adds. And more so on the packaging, since the “accent” bumps up to the horizontal “Tropicana.” The purpose of diacritics (cedillas, accent marks, tildes, umlauts, etc.) is to set apart or distinguish; such marks indicate a different phonetic value. This leaf is not phonetic; it is phony.

On a lighter note, something that came to mind (don’t ask me how)…a “rock steady” cheer:

Trop
Trop 50,
Trop 50 ifty ifty,
Shake your bottle, get ready.
Drink on up, yeah.
And drink up. Hmm!

Louder now!

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