How Canon Chooses Camera Names
SA*When I was a freelancer in D.C. and had to drive all over everywhere for various jobs, I used to do a comic schtick about the roads in Virginia. There are basically three statutes on the books in that State concerning the naming of roads. One is that each road must be given both a name and a number, and if the name appears on maps, the number must be placed on road signs; if the number is on the maps, then the name has to be on all the road signs. Rule number two is that major continuous roads must be given several names, so that what "road" you are "on" depends on where you are along it. And the third is that roads can only be built without following rules 1. and 2. if they are laid out along colonial cow paths.
The purpose of these rules is very simple: CONFUSE THE YANKEES. If you weren't born in Virginia, the Virginians don't want you to be able to find your way around.
Canon Camera Corporation of Japan is following a naming protocol for its digital cameras that is somewhat similar. First, a committee of five illiterate immigrant day-laborers are given an alphabet of about nine letters and six digits from which to build a number of proposed names for new products. The most sensible ones are then immediately discarded. The aim seems to be (although I am not certain of this; it just appears this way) that if you are not a loyal Canon customer who spends several hours every week lovingly poring over Canon product literature or online information, Canon doesn't want you to be able to distinguish between different Canon products. This is believed to foster brand loyalty by making lack of confusion an "insider" privilege.
As a final test, a metal band is placed around the head of a Rhesus monkey. The band is tightened until the monkey is in severe pain; he is then shown the proposed new product name on a flash card and has to pick it out from among several flash cards of nearly identical names posted on a wall; not until he picks the right one is the band loosened and his pain relieved. Only if it takes him three or more tries does the name pass the test—if he is able to do it on either the first or second try, it's back to the drawing board for the five day-laborer guys.
So far this method of product naming has resulted in such wonderfully senseless names as the 1Ds Mk. II N; a designation actually identical to one in use by a competing company at the time, the 5D; and now the 30D, which is close enough to the old "D30" designation that it nearly killed the monkey.
Somewhere down the line, we are sure to get the 3D0, the D03, and the 03D; the 60D, D10, and New 1Ds Mk. II N, at which point the name of the old 1Ds Mk. II N will be retroactively changed to 1Ds Mk. II O ("O" for old). I, for one, can't wait.
Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON
* Satire Alert. This alert is provided as a courtesy for verbally tone-deaf and non-native English speaking readers.
Featured Comment: skpatton writes, "Actually, I think 5 illiterate immigrants would have done much better; it took several highly degreed, highly paid managers to do this."