Creating Names that Sell

How do you create an authentically Italian sounding name for a premium line of ready-to-drink espresso beverages? This was The Coca-Cola Company’s third attempt at entering the $2B ready-to-drink coffee space, so the name and positioning needed to capture a global audience of upscale, on-the-go young women and men. They had to get it right, with illycaffè as their premium beverage partner in this joint venture.

The Approach:
The client wanted an authentic Italian name, so we went right to our brain-trust prodigies in Italy to audition and select bilingual Italian creative writers. High-IQ consumers, creative writers and naming experts in the US also joined the ideation team. In ten days, the ProdigyWorks team of 18 writers created more than 1,300 compelling names with concise rationales. With native Italian language experts, a university department chair and the client team, we narrowed the list of names through three rounds of review.

tn-illy-cansProdigyWorks managed the qualitative and quantitative market research in six countries. We tapped into the ProdigyWorks global network to conduct a thorough culture and language review of the leading names with high-IQ native language speakers of thirteen languages.

The Result:

The Coca-Cola and illycaffé team selected the name ‘illy issimo’ from the short list of our final recommendations. The name is a play on the use of the absolute superlative issimo in the Italian language, and signifies “the ultimate of illy.”


Since launching in 2009, illy issimo has been enjoyed by millions of consumers in 20 countries all over the world. In the US alone, illy issimo is sold in over 20,000 locations, including CVS and leading national supermarket chains such as Kroger and Whole Foods stores.
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