“This week saw the launch of Hipstamatic’s long-awaited photo-sharing app. And what have they decided to call their new app, I hear you ask? Well, no doubt after great investment in some expensive Los Angeles PR consultancy, they’ve settled on the name Oggl. OK, yes, like Flickr, Tumblr, Grmblr, they’ve missed out some letters. That’s the first five minutes of the consultant’s fee. But what about the actual meaning of the word. Or the things that people think of when they hear it. Did they road-test it in the UK? Possibly not. Did they even road-test it anywhere? Possibly not. The (presumably American) Urban Dictionary gives as an example of the word’s usage: “Dude, don’t oggle my Mom’s tits”. So far, so bad. Think a bit more and “oggle” has the connotation of looking at something without one’s brain switched on. Not very good for an app for a “Community of Creative People”.
Maybe they chose it to lure the takeover interests of Google, which wouldn’t have to do much rebranding if they decided to launch Google Oggle? (Shame Google aren’t called Goggle, as Goggle Oggle would have been a cracking name). Perhaps some additional research could also have been spent on finding out whether @oggl already existed as a user name on Twitter. It does. Poor Oscar Garcia (1 follower, me) must have wondered where all his new-found popularity had come from when he picked up his phone last Saturday morning.
But perhaps the Hipstas are one step ahead of the game (they usually are)? Perhaps it is a knowing wink to a tradition of embarrasingly named killer brands. Our own mobile world continues to suffer something of an identify crisis. Last year we saw the coining of the term “motography” (nothing to do with Jeremy Clarkson) and to untrained ears the most universally accepted term in the mobile photography world, iphoneography, raises some eyebrows. And of course my own attempt to coin “iphoggy” must – I think I now have to admit – be deemed a failure. I didn’t do any research into that one either.
‘what are you oggling at?’ – ©Richard Gray