Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of an American icon.
No, not Jon Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen. It was 50 years ago yesterday that Wham-O, Inc. changed the name of its flat flying disc to Frisbee.
According to the Associated Press, Frisbee inventor Walter Morrison thought the Frisbee name would never fly. The Pluto Platter was a refinement of Morrison's experiments with flying discs since he was a kid, first throwing popcorn lids and then tin cake pans. (Imagine getting hit on the head with a tin cake pan. Ouch!)
But after it was on the market for about six months, Wham-O adopted the name that college kids everywhere had unofficially given to the Pluto Platter. Frisbee remains a common word for college kids, parents and dog owners.
How much do you think is in a name? Would Pluto Platter have done just as well if the company had stayed with that somewhat awkward name?
Speaking of the value of names, Mack Collier at The Viral Garden asked a good question over the weekend about Seth Godin's blog. He wonders if Seth were to blog under a different name (don't ask me why he would), would his blog still be as widely read and referenced? Mack's question was a follow-up to a post at Drew's Marketing Minute that's worth looking at, along with all 43 comments it drew.
Seth has built a powerful brand that gives his blog instant recognition and credibility. I wonder how popular his blog would be if it were called Frisbee Free-for-All or Pluto Platter Patter.
Hmm? Perhaps names do matter.