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21 Mar 2019 04:28am -0400 EDT
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ICOS 2008 Conference Abstract

'VERGNANO' is not Italian, because I Can't Understand It. The Perception of Pseudo-Italian Product Names by German Speakers

M A Rieger
Università di Bologna, Italy

In my talk, I present some of the results of my study of the perception of pseudo-Italian product names by German consumers. The quarterly Anholt-GMI Nation Brands Index ranks nations as brands since 2005. It shows how consumers around the world perceive the national competence of 25 nations in six areas. In the ‘Product’ area, Italy’s scores are high for fashion and food. So, it is understandable that German manufacturers are trying to make the most of this ‘added value’ given by consumers to Italian food. Therefore, in German supermarkets you can find not only Italian traditional brands, such as BARILLA or LAVAZZA, but also pseudo-Italian brands and product names.
It will be shown that non-Italian speaking Germans have a quite clear and surprisingly concurring idea about what is an Italian (sounding) word and what is not. However, Italian sound is not enough to make a ‘good’ product name. Consumers want descriptive names which inform them about the product and/or its characteristics. Therefore, the real challenge for name designers here is not to suggest Italian sound only, but to create names which correspond with conceptions about the Italian language and, at the same time, are informative for non-Italian speaking consumers.

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