North West: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s baby name oddly short on brand potential

June 24, 2013

Should you be surprised that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian gave their new daughter such a weird name? No: Be surprised that they gave her such a banal name.

West and Kardashian in December. (Alan Diaz / AP)
West and Kardashian in December. (Alan Diaz / AP)

North West — the name officially confirmed by her birth certificate — might have a high quirk factor. But its branding potential falls far short of what we’d expect from the historic merger of two marketing-savvy megalomaniacs. Names like Blue Ivy and Suri are instantly identified with the celeb kid in question. But “North West” registered only a modest Google Trend blip this weekend compared with past big news out of North West Australia, North West England and northwestern Pakistan. Said one Web-search expert: “It would take a nearly infinite amount of reality-TV exposure for her to outrank a geospatial coordinate.”

While Jay-Z and Beyoncé rushed to trademark “Blue Ivy,” there are already scads of claims for a variety of purposes on “North West” (and variants like “NW”). “In trademark terms, it would be a diluted market,” said Chris Ott, an intellectual-property lawyer at the D.C. firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease — though it’s possible to make a seemingly generic term valuable (think American Airlines) with just enough PR, he noted.  “If there’s anyone who can push through a fight on this, they can.” Assuming they want to. Who knows, maybe they wanted a baby name that could just blend in.

See also: Kanye West on the meaning of love

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Amy Argetsinger | June 23, 2013