For a major sporting event, the College Football Playoff National Championship, which debuts January 9, has an extremely generic name. We asked some specialists to chime in with other ideas.
"How about Goldfish Bowl?" she asks. "Is that taken? And Mixing Bowl? I also like Punch Bowl, because it’s kind of aggressive."
I hate to tell her that they had two years to settle on College Football Playoff.
"No!" she says. "Please tell me nobody paid for that name. Are you kidding me?" She thinks all the good ideas must have been shot down in meetings.
In fairness, starting with a generic name has worked before. The first Super Bowl was officially just the AFL-NFL Championship Game, recalls Michael Oriard, a retired English professor, former NFL player, and author of the book “Brand NFL.”
Also, the tournament now called “March Madness” was simply the Men's Division I Basketball Championship when the National Collegiate Athletic Association first introduced it.
"The NCAA couldn’t invent March Madness," says Oriard. "It had to emerge over time. So my guess is the College Football Playoff will acquire some jazzier, sexier title at some point."
A dissenting view comes from David Placek, arguably the biggest name in brand names. He is president of the brand-naming company Lexicon, which claims successes like Procter & Gamble's Febreze and Swiffer cleaning products, Coca-Cola's Dasani water, and Research in Motion's BlackBerry phone.
"Why give someone else the power to name something that you’ve created?" says Placek. "I would want to take the responsibility and keep the power in my own organization, and start off with something that provokes people more."
His first thought: Platinum Bowl.
We asked you to come up with a better (or at least more interesting) name for the game on Twitter, and here are the results:
Some thought the huge price tag of collegiate sports should be highlighted:
@Marketplace The Money Grab Bowl— Boulder Cycle Sport (@bldrcyclesport) January 11, 2015
@Marketplace the National college “championship”? The Cash Cow. Putting higher education down the bowl…— Brian Ross (@theclevertwit) January 12, 2015
Others pointed to the pro-football feel of the game:
@Marketplace, how about the Who's Leaving for the NFL Bowl?— Jeff Newberry (@NewberryJeff) January 11, 2015
@Marketplace i think the name should be jr. Super bowl.— Brianna Jones (@godsgirl13jones) January 12, 2015
Some thought the name should capitalize on marketing possibilities:
@Marketplace Highest Bidder Bowl— Billy Easton (@BEastonNY) January 12, 2015
...And then there's these:
@marketplace We should call the college football playoff the American Standard Toilets Bowl— FeaR Harry (@HarryH987) January 12, 2015
@Marketplace Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money— Dylan Wilbur (@Dwilbur003) January 11, 2015