PC and TV manufacturers fail marketing 101 with ridiculous model names

David Carnoy goes through a recent selection of products from the CNET Reviews team and remarks on how absurd many of them are.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read

The HP Pavilion dv7-1025nr is a 17-inch laptop, though you'd never know it from its name. CNET Networks

Each day during the week here at CNET we have a quick meeting to talk about what stories and reviews we think should be promoted on the CNET home page. Not so surprisingly, computers and TVs are popular among our readers, so those types of products tend to get a lot of play on the CNET home page. But, the problem is these computers and TVs have the most ridiculous model numbers attached to them that it makes it very difficult--and almost comical--to pitch them.

Take a recent selection of model numbers from the Home & Hardware schedule. From HP you have the HP Pavilion dv7-1025nr and HP Pavilion dv5-1004nr. Then there's the Gateway GT5692, Sony Vaio VGN-FW140, Compaq Presario CQ50-115NR, Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7815, and Toshiba Satellite U405D-S2852. On the TV front, you get stuff like the Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ850U, Westinghouse VK-40FS580D, Mitsubishi LT-46148, Toshiba Regza 42RV530U, and Vizio SV470XVT. The list of wacky names goes on and on, which makes you think: what are these people thinking?

By "these people" I guess I mean the marketing teams of these various companies. I mean, haven't they learned anything from Apple? Some of the cell phone manufacturers seem to have. Now we're seeing popular phones like the Samsung Instinct and LG Dare that have simple one-word names that people can easily remember. There's a shocker.

I'll give Dell credit for trying. At least its models kind of make sense now and are limited to four numbers (for example, its Inspiron 1525 is a laptop with a 15-inch screen). But my God, the Toshiba Satellite L355D-S7815? What the hell is that? I have trouble rattling it off correctly in a meeting and sometimes miss a number or letter.

And so I ask: Can we please put a stop to long, stupid model numbers that don't give you any idea what the product is? I'm singling out certain computer and TV manufacturers but the poor-naming phenomenon is fairly widespread--there are plenty of electronics products with ridiculous names. Anybody have any insights into all this or nominations for the most absurd model number?