Bristol-Myers Squibb (New York, NY), the well-known global pharmaceutical leader that discovers, develops and delivers groundbreaking medicines.


Typically, pharmaceutical naming and safety testing regimens span from 6 to 12 months, with an “all-hands-on deck” creative development required to leave time for sometimes arduous safety testing. But when the creative development doesn’t go as planned and a client comes to us later in the process, timelines can be crunched. Considerably.

Such was the case in 2009 as Zenmark was enlisted to crack the code on a brand name for a breakthrough melanoma drug. In three short weeks following our hire, we conducted two presentations for the Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) team. Their top selections then went into a high-speed global legal and linguistic search. From there, semi-finalists were put into global safety testing. Out of the other end of the gauntlet appeared a winner: Yervoy.

Two syllable global pharmaceutical brand names are extremely rare these days as most combinations are already in use or are too closely related to be effective. But Yervoy was not only concise and available, it offered the unique distinction of being pronounced nearly identically in all languages. A huge advantage in marketing efficiency.

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