In search of these, I went to some of the discount stores selling merchandise typically for prices around a dollar. Alas, I found a lot of discount brands with suspect names: No-Poot gas pills, Sorta Clean detergent, Dog Breath mouthwash, Bump Along tires, Large Owl bras, Kitty Begone cat litter, and so on. But no Brand X. There were a few products labeled "Generic," but apparently Brand X was not used as a product name any longer.
In my opinion, ad men are missing a bet here. Why not propose Brand X as a serious product name? And use Brand Y as a name for a supplemental product. (I feel a little Cartesian this morning).
As a matter of fact, we could have politicians run under names like Joseph X or Mitch Y or so forth. Would this perk interest? Apparently, the recent Fall, 2014 election was characterized by widespread lack of voter interest, especially with some groups.
Would this work? Here's a possible reason why it might. In 1884, John Singer Sargent labeled his most famous or notorious painting, Portrait of Madame X, a daring portrait of Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau. This was the sensation of the Salon in Paris for that year.
Sargent's other works are often beautiful, like his Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt, and his Nude Egyptian Girl, but Madame X is by far the most easily recognizable.
|Portrait of Theodore Roosevelt|
|Nude Egyptian Girl|
The last one is noteworthy itself because of its use of a radically long portrait (73" X 23") format; departing from the usual 8:5 ratio of the Golden Section.
Sargent did numerous other works, including other portraits, landscapes, and even a wartime fainting of gassed soldiers; but not with as much recognition as Portrait of Madame X. Would it have carried as much impact if it had been entitled Portrait of Virginie Striking an Attitude? Something to wonder about.
So, bold ad people, consider the use of that little ole X when advertising products, politicians, or even authors! X may indeed mark the spot with interest and intrigue. In a world where the consumer is bombarded by numerous advertising claims, they might retreat to this unknown yet trustworthy entity.