Tag Archives: noun

Brandverbing Brands

With McDonald’s foray into espressos and lattes, we now have a new brand verb: McCafé.

Or do we?

Of course not.

McDonald’s promotional language does have some fun with the brand as a verb: McCafé your day…. But this isn’t what McDonald’s is ultimately going for.


As I thought of McDonald’s McCafé ads, images of Clint Eastwood popped into my head with the line: “Go ahead. McCafé my day.”

“I McCaféd my morning.”

“Let’s go McCafé our day.”

Uh… no. It just doesn’t work. And, as I said, this isn’t what McDonald’s is going for, I believe. They’re just playing with words.

In any case, all of this has me thinking about brands as verbs.

I have to say: I love brands as verbs. They’re alive. They convey a sense of action and motion. They’re all about getting things done. They suggest a unique experience.

Marketing guru Seth Godin has noted the difference between nouns and verbs.

He says:

“People care much more about verbs than nouns. They care about things that move, that are happening, that change. They care about experiences and events and the way things make us feel.

“Nouns just sit there, inanimate lumps. Verbs are about wants and desires and wishes.”

Wouldn’t you rather have your brand in the latter category?

Makes me wonder if Microsoft gave any consideration to this when exploring name candidates for their new search engine to rival google. Will we ever add “bing” to our vocabulary, just as we’ve done with google? Hard to imagine.

Brands as verbs (e.g. FedEx, Xerox, Twitter) can be powerful. We’re talking about tremendous brand recognition and distinction.

But is it good or bad? When should you choose to “brandverb” your brand? When does it make sense? When doesn’t it?

I’m sure the lawyers would strongly caution against “brandverbs”… (By the way, I saw the term “brandverb” used somewhere. If I could remember where, I’d include an attribution.)

Please weigh in on brandverbing. Not a new topic, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on this practice.

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