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Mar 16, 2007

I just got back from a public meeting where my client’s application for a special permit to build a car wash was denied.

In discussing potential noise issues, the town board kept referring to the fact that my client’s automatic car wash bays would be using Oasis’s “Typhoon” wash system. Comments such as “can you imagine what’s it going to be like with 2 Typhoons going all day?” were typical.

I’ve worked on enough car wash projects to know that the washers themselves are rarely a noise problem - most noise generated at a car wash are from the dryers and vacuums. I did some measurements of an existing car wash for this particular project, and the results were no different. The measurement results were, of course, presented to the board. However, based on the comments at the meeting, some people had a hard time getting past the word “Typhoon.”

It’s not to say that the product name was sole reason for the permit request getting nixed, the community had some real concerns about a variety of environmental issues and logistics. But I found it interesting that some marketer somewhere thought to him/herself “hey, let’s name our product ‘Typhoon,’ it sounds so cool!” without realizing that the name may have cost the company a sale or two.

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Lance pointed me to this Boston Globe article discussing the desire of listeners to trade quality for convenience.

To be honest, this is something I’ve feared since I first heard (and tried) ATRAC in the late ‘80’s. Frankly, with the increasing capacity of today’s digital audio players, I thought more and more people would be listening to losslessly encoded mustic instead of MP3/WMA/AAC tracks by now.

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