Hello Internet. Let’s explore a way to make your brand pop: Onomatopoeia! Don’t worry, it isn’t something Donald Trump watches in a Russian hotel room or something Anthony Wiener does with his cell phone! An “onomatopoeic” word is one that mimics the sound it describes. Bam, pow, boom and any other word associated with the 1960’s Batman TV show – that’s onomatopoeia. Words like hiccup, gurgle, splash, grunt, slap, croak, mumble, belch, warble, trill, bawl, thud, thump, crash, drip, wince, rustle, chatter, clatter, cringe, bang, click, flutter, whoosh, whizz, chirp, cluck chortle and warble…are all onomatopoeic words. And, believe it or not, that’s just scratching the surface: The high prevalence of imitative words in human language actually inspired the Bowwow theory in the field of linguistics, which asserts that language originated to imitate nature.

Be that as it may, onomatopoeia is a handy branding tool as well.

Let’s explore some examples.


Onomatopoeia used in slogans be very catchy. Mazda used the slogan Zoom Zoom in the 1990’s and 2000’s for their automobile ads. This instantly let you know that the Mazda brand was geared towards speed and handling. Besides the sound indicating high-revving engines and sporty handling, the slogan also hinted at passing your fellow motorists by.

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Alka Seltzer went with Plop Plop Fizz Fizz to perfectly explain how their product sounds when you drop it into a glass of water. This was a great example of onomatopoeia and made for a catchy hook.

With Rice Krispies, Snap Crackle and Pop was the sound the cereal made when poured into milk, bringing a level of action and excitement previously unassociated with cereal. They also created the elves with the same namesake as visual mascots for the brand.


Onomatopoeia can also be used for naming your product. Nestle Crunch and Cap’n Crunch both use Onomatopoeia to illustrate the sound their product makes when you bite into it.

The soft feel of Puffs Tissues is perfectly conveyed within its name.

Pop Tart’s name recreates the experience of your toaster popping the tarts up when they are ready to eat.

Schweppes is an incidental sound that is named after the creator of the beverage, but also sound like opening a can of soda.

Elon Musk’s Boring Company sounds exactly like what it does.

Boom! There you go. Use onomatopoeia in your next product or brand communication to create a big buzz and put psycho-sensory brand-building techniques to work for you.

Slurpee anyone?

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Six Degrees
Six Degrees uses psycho-sensory tools and techniques to build more successful national and global brands. Brands are rooted in human perception. And our psycho-sensory approach is designed to identify deeper and richer insights from human perception and then develop brand communications that change suboptimal perceptions or reinforce the right perceptions. More than 80 percent of the information humans process is nonverbal, making it essential that brands manage the sensory signals they send out. Our people are passionate branding experts wielding powerful psycho-sensory tools to build stronger and more successful brands across the globe.

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