Aston Martin

the toponym

The story behind the Aston Martin brand name and British automobile manufacturer is one of the more romantic in the brand naming pantheon.

It derives from the motor sports days of one of the company’s two founders, Lionel Martin, who won a number of races on the famous Aston Clinton 3/4 mile hill climb near Aylesbury. His first race was in 1914 and there is a plaque at the top of the hill to this day to commemorate his achievements, so famous did the combination of drive, car and hill become.

These toponyms, and also eponyms, tend to escape typical name evaluation and qualitative research techniques. They reach outside the average Joe’s experience into a folklore and intimate acquaintance with a particular sphere of activity, here motor sports. The brand story that emerges is one that: a) gives depth, mystique and credence to a brand and b) a strong suit in brand name presentations. Needless to say, few and far between are the occasions on which one can use, or is encouraged to use, this brand naming method so counter intuitive and anachronistic can these names seem.