Moving from model numbers to emotional engagement

Samsung had always named their mobile phones in the way they had named their microwaves – a strong master brand, a price point and a model number to help with stocking and ordering. But Motorola, with its Razr, had changed the game on them. We helped them develop a tonality and strategy to move from numbers and letters to a story that they could get behind.

samsung-instinct-canadaAnd this phone – the first with an intuitive haptic interface that allowed “soft buttons” to give the user a sense of feedback without staring at the screen – got a name that became Samsung’s flagship for announcing their new evocative push into the mobile and smart phone market.

Creating a new category for the category creator

Adobe LightroomHow could Adobe create a new software suite for true photographers that was differentiated from their flagship Photoshop brand (which began as a photographer’s program and became known as an artist’s tool)? The UI metaphor was steeped in traditional professional photography metaphors – loupes, lightboxes, negatives.

With naming, we explored a wide range of options, but coming up with the simple story of “everything you’d do in a dark room, now in the light” led to the name that I’m most proud of.

The best names feel like they’ve been around forever a day after you pitch them. Lightroom fit seamlessly into Adobe’s portfolio. (And once the software package was re-engineered to be compatible with Photoshop, they brought it under their banner Photoshop brand with the nomenclature criteria work I developed for them as well.)

Yesterday’s TV of tomorrow had a really cool name.


All the web you want to see on your TV needed a name that set it apart from the mice, keyboards, webcams and remote controls Logitech was known for. A name that screamed entertainment – and was ready to go global.

I lead the effort, created the name, and did the sell in to everyone: the CEO and board, the Swiss engineers and the Google marketing team.

I also built the nomenclature for the accessories and helped Google build criteria for the use of the Google TV brand.

Creating an authentic Irish backstory in a single word


Do you want to compete with potato skin chips in the vending machine wars? Then you better be the most Irish.

After a deep assessment of what makes something sound like a pub – and the difference between Irish and British pub naming – the answer to this Frito-Lay challenge was on my iTunes playlist. When Keely Smith sang back to Louis Prima, I knew that name #1034 was going to be a winner.

Naming a kids’ show


This start up of parents, therapists and entertainers had a brilliant approach for teaching the “socially quirky” kid (focusing those on the autism spectrum) interaction skills through a humorous, but not pandering, TV show. I got the honor of naming the show, the main character (Professor Flummox), and the setting (Flummox Labs).

After all, who doesn’t get socially Flummoxed once in a while?

Creative Director: Matt Gordon


Hotel Helix

helix_logoTagline: Your 15 Minutes

Bar tagline: A world gone fabulous.

Positioning Statement: Everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes, or at least feel like it the moment they step in the doors of the latest pop art sensation, Hotel Helix. High style blended with popular pleasures to form a work of art that elevates the guest experience to something worthy of a museum.

Brand Story:
“Everything is beautiful. Pop is everything.” — Andy Warhol

In the center of DC, you are the center of the universe. There is nothing more important than you at Helix. It’s appealing to everyone, but feels as if it’s designed just for you. From high class to lowbrow, everything here is designed to turn your head. Welcome to the newest pop sensation, The Hotel Helix in Washington DC.

Strobing lights greet you as you make your grand entrance. But you’re familiar with that sort of treatment from your adoring public and the demanding paparazzi, or at least you’re not going to give anyone around a reason to think otherwise as you stroll into center stage to check-in.

Look around. You’ve walked out of the real world and into the hottest spread from this month’s Surface.

Bouncy tunes, a lavish chandelier held up with a construction wench and sumptuous furniture occupied by stylish tourists all compete for your attention. Strut down the black and white runway hallway to the elevator and ride up to your personal pad.

A collage of anything and everything to make you at home, we’ll put you on a multicolored pedestal complete with cozy furniture and a private bed nook to facilitate your escape from the outside world when the pressures of fame are too much to bear. But when you’re ready to make your presence known, put in a guest appearance at the Helix Lounge, a chameleon-like cafe that changes to suit your mood and makes the perfect backdrop for your brilliance. Where better to be discovered than sipping a glowing cocktail perched on a sleek stool?

Nothing is common and everyday, even those things you see every day. If a can of soup can be a work of art, so can a pillow, a nightlight or a bottle of bubble bath. Brightly colored and bursting with energy and sound, the guest experience at Helix is more than a stay, it’s a true work of pop art.

From the threshold to your pillow and all points in between, The Helix is your fifteen minutes of fame. Enjoy it while it lasts.

If Hotel Helix were…

  • If it were a work of art, it would be a piece by Roy Liechtenstein.
  • If it were a piece of literature, it would be the Cosmo Quiz.
  • If it were a celebrity, it would be Andy Warhol.
  • If it were a drink, it would be Yoo-hoo and DiSarno amaretto served in a colored tumbler.
  • If it were a vehicle, it would be a mustard-colored Mini Cooper.
  • If it had an arch nemesis, it would be the paparazzi.