What's in a Name?

By Klingel, John | Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management, January 1986 | Go to article overview

What's in a Name?


Klingel, John, Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management


In the early seventies, I was asked to help a group of people start a magazine that had the working title Bread and Roses. The magazine was geared to the sixties generation: It was heavily political (liberal/Left) but also lifestyle oriented with the assumption that, on the way to the revolution, one would stop to smell the roses and sip a little wine. The name Bread and Roses clearly expressed the magazine's philosophy.

When we approached copywriters for the test package, they strongly suggested we change teh name. And since we were working with three of the all-time greats--Hank Burnett, Bill Jayme and Chris Stagg--we decided to do so. We learned also that a feminist group had started a publication with the same name, so the name of our magazine became New Dimensions.

The direct mail test was overwhelmingly successful, attaining an overall response in excess of 10 percent. We launched New Dimensions with a direct mail campaign of roughly 3.0 million pieces; but just after we dropped the campaign, we got a little surprise. A nonprofit group that was publishing a newsletter with the same name demanded we cease using it. Although we may have been able to win in court, we were afraid they would enjoin us; and it's a little tough to publish a magazine if you have to wait five years for a court decision. So we decided to change the name again.

Consensus by committee

Choosing a name for a magazine is hard enough, but choosing a name by committee is impossible; and at New Dimensions, every employee had an equal vote. The name decided on was GAzette--which most of the business staff and I hated.

Soon after settling on the third official name, the publisher, two other people from the Gazette (no issues had been published), and I were eating at a great little Szechuan restaurant in the Mission District of San Francisco. I was expressly warned not to bring up the name problem because there had been so much disagreement over the name that no one could stand any more discussion. During dinner, however, the publisher couldn't resist telling us one more funny name story.

Bill Jayme had called him and suggested the name Mother Jones. Those assembled collapsed into their pot stickers. Everyone thought the name sounded appropriate for a children's magazine or a diaper service giveaway. When the laughter subsided, I said very seriously, "It's a better name than Gazette." And so over some very spicy Chinese food, we decided to name the magazine mother Jones because it was a better name than Gazette. The staff ratified the decision, by the way.

The situation wasn't unique

What happened to Mother Jones has happened to many other publications. Bob Guccione wanted to start a science magazine called Nova, but was stopped by a television program of the same name--so he switched to Omni. New West had problems with another publisher starting a magazine with another publisher starting a magazine with the same name. Time Inc. purchased the title Discover from a publisher of a local real estate handout in California. Learning magazine was originally going to be Education Today until it was discovered that there was an obscure educational journal using the name.

Linking title and purpose

At this point in the discussion of naming new publications, I want to mention some things I look for with respect to marketing. I strongly believe that a magazine's name should quickly tell a potential reader or buyer what the magazine is about. Some good examples of naming are Personal Computing, Runner's World, Tennis, Food & Wine, Money, People, Sports Illustrated, Natural History, Home and Garden, Astronomy, Fishing Facts, Reader's Digest and TV Guide. Magazine names that tell you nothing include Mother Jones, Quest, Harper's and Mariah.

I also think about where a magazine title falls alphabetically. If a publication is going to use agents, the alphabetical position can make a difference. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

What's in a Name?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.