The process of christening a new medicine typically involves about two years of semiotic labor. But in 2020, just as drug companies collapsed their standard development timelines to fight a global pandemic, the naming process has been condensed into a six-month sprint, said Scott Piergrossi, president of operations and communications at the Miami-based Brand Institute, which has worked on Covid-19 vaccine naming projects. (Citing the confidentiality of client agreements, Piergrossi wouldn’t say which ones.)
“We’ve never experienced anything like this in our time in business,” said Piergrossi. “It’s been a privilege to be in some way a part of this effort.”…
“Everyone I know is trying to get it out of me,” Piergrossi said. “I haven’t even told my wife what the names are.”
Marketing experts involved in the naming of previous vaccines say a good name might suggest cutting-edge science, but it had best not imply the product is so new as to be risky. It should be assuring, but not overly promotional; approachable, but distinct from any other approved product. It’s a narrow target to hit.