My readers are reading my mind.
In an email whose subject line is “Goodyear Blimp Contest,” James Miller writes:
“Out of 15,000 entries? These are the best 10? Must have been a pretty sad list.”
Either that or a sad group of judges.
I, too, was completely underwhelmed.
The names are mostly bland and numbingly corporate. Compared to the soaring, quirky, lovable aircraft that will carry one of the 10 monikers, they are flat-out pedestrian.
Only one seems worthy of being attached to the new bird, which is 50 feet longer, 20 mph faster and has 71 percent more seating capacity (12) than the blimps of the past half-century.
If you missed the story about the finalists, here goes (try to stay awake):
• Pride of Goodyear
• Wingfoot One
Yes, those have been declared the top 0.0667 percent of all the names submitted.
Keep in mind that no two of the 15,000 entries were the same, because Goodyear’s website blocked multiple entries with the same name.
“Goodwill”? Is the blimp going to start swooping down over area households to collect gently worn clothing?
“Excursion”? “Explorer”? Perhaps the Ford Motor Co. is getting kickbacks.
“Resolute”? Do you really want to name this blimp after another blimp? And out of all the past blimps, you pick one that was christened by Amelia Earhart? Talk about bad vibes.
But maybe it’s just me. Here’s what Autoweek said about the finalists: “We like Resolute for badass historical reasons. If so named, may this blimp fare better than its namesake.”
The HMS Resolute was a member of the British Navy during the mid-1800s. Built for Arctic exploration, it got stuck in the ice and was abandoned, and the entire crew died. An American whaling ship fished it out years later and returned it to Queen Victoria.
“Pride of Goodyear” sounds too much like the recently departed “Spirit of Goodyear” — and not far from “Spirit of Akron,” “Spirit of America” and “Spirit of Innovation.” After we run through all the “spirit of” names and all of the “pride of” names, will we turn to “heart of” names?
“Ambassador” also carries a strong scent of deja vu because for decades Goodyear has described its blimps generically as “aerial ambassadors.”
“Adventurer” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Say it out loud. Even coming from the mouth of a network TV announcer, it’s just not punchy enough.
The only one I like on the entire list is “Wingfoot One.”
It’s fun to say out loud. It combines an iconic name with the number one, signifying a fresh start in blimp design. And, unlike “Commitment” and “Inspiration,” it sounds like a thing, not a political party’s platform.
One reader complained that “Wingfoot One” would resonate only with locals because the rest of the nation doesn’t know the blimp’s hangar is at a place called Wingfoot Lake in Suffield Township.
But the winged foot also has been a central part of the corporate logo for 114 years. Everyone has seen it.
Then there’s this: The mythological dude with the winged foot was Hermes, who was nothing less than the messenger of the Gods. Hard to argue with that kind of networking.
Still, some readers are firmly committed to “none of the above.”
“These names are crap,” wrote the ever-subtle Michael Hendrickson.
His own entry was “Assurance Aloft,” which would have satisfied the complicated criteria, offered alliteration and, from a marketing standpoint, furthered the name recognition of one of the company’s major tire lines (Assurance).
I guess we should have expected this type of result given the unwieldy contest rules in which judges were supposed to assign various weights to four different criteria, such as 40 percent for a name that “acknowledges Goodyear’s ongoing track record of delivering superior performance and innovation.”
If you can work up enough enthusiasm, the voting will run through May 9 at www.Goodyear.com/ NametheBlimp.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or email@example.com.