Word Puzzles & Pirates

Today’s post comes from a pirate wanted on all 7 continents, Captain Billy.

Ahoy landlubbers!

Me and me boys is glad t’ be buccaneers what  fills our days sailin’ down th’ seacoast pillagin’ villages instead a havin’ day jobs like th’ rest of ya does.  We is truly blessed t’ have such a congenial lifestyle.  ‘Twas never more clear t’ me than it was just after I read this here article about the weird science of naming new products.

Didja know th’ name “Viagra” is crash between th’ words “vigorous” an’ “Niagara”?   Why they puts a name what’s famous fer falls in  somethin’ what’s supposed t’ be all about goin’ “up” hydraulically is mysterious t’ me.

 Th’ writer tells us about this here boyo who sits around all day strainin’ his brain t’ come up with words nobody ever thought of before t’ slap on products what needs a name.  An’ he’s come up wi’ some famous ones!  But also a lot that ain’t too well known, like:

 Avaya, Enormo, Fanhattan, Freescale, Homestyler, Kixx, Mylo, Pause, Rig, Scribe, Spontania, Valchemy, Wanderful and Zact.

 Th’ amount o’ work he as t’ go through t’ develop names is mighty discouragin’.   Lists an’ lists o’ ideas an’ word parts,  all mashed t’gether an’ taken apart, then presented t’ th’ clients, then re-worked an’ shaped an’ explained an’ re-presented.  An’ then he’s likely as not t’ get shot down, because as th’ writer says,

“Having asked for a whole new identity, the client is terrified to accept it.”

Terrified about commitment.  Finally, somethin’ we pirates understands!  What a horrible job.  Gimme th’ open skies an’ rollin’ sea any day, ain’t that right, boys?

Actually, though, we did somethin’ very similar when we named this here boat of ours.  What I did was I split th’ boys up in two groups an’ told ’em t’ brainstorm around words what described us an’ what we does.

Me boys is strong in th’ “storm” part, an’ not so much in th’ “brain” area, but each group came up wi’ some good ones.

Group number one said “Musket” was a word what sounded “manly” an “violent”, which is how we sees ourselves.  An’ they said “Lunge” was another one what captured us, on account of it bein’ “violent” an “manly”.  They was the ones what said we should name th’ boat th’ “Muskellunge”.

Group number two, on th’ other hand,  said “Musky” was a term fer th’ way things start t’ smell ’round here, ‘specially below decks.  So they  figured “Musky Lung” was a good name fer th’ boat on account of that’s what yer bound t’  get by ridin’ around in it.

After ’bout 5 seconds deliberation, we went with group number one, unanimous-like.

An’ that’s how th’ Muskellunge got her name!

Yer word-lovin’ swashbuckler,
Cap’n Billy

What’s your favorite made-up product name, and why?

38 thoughts on “Word Puzzles & Pirates”

  1. Pepsi. Our family was raised on Coca Cola but one spring we became acquainted with a family from Texas who were up to Minnesota to cultivate the sugar beet crop. They were huge Pepsi fans and bi-lingual. We knew the physical challenge of weeding and thinning rows was something to be experienced so took it up. Lasted a whole day. Exhausted from the endeavor and understanding we were done but they were just getting started, the question of how they were able to go on arose. “From where do you get the energy?” “Pep? Si.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Good morning. There is no end to interesting sounding product names. The one that pops into my mind is Smoking Loon wine. Somehow that combination of words hits me as a good fun name. For me the word loon is filled with comical meaning. Putting the word smoking with the word loon just seems to get my attention. Also, the wine sold under that name is good and not too expensive.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Small winerys and breweries have wonderful names for their stuff.

      And for me, this works. I will choose a bottle just for the name and label. You win some, you lose some.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. NPR’s Scott Simon once learned that wineries learned they moved more product if their labels had little animals on them. Simon shared that with his wife, and they had a good laugh. Then Simon went into the basement to look at the labels on wine bottles they had bought. With almost no exceptions, each label had some little animal on it.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I checked, and I have nothing in the wine rack at the moment that has an animal on the label. In the past, I’ve tried wines that had goats, sheep, pigs, horses, dogs, owls, kangaroos, toads, roosters, penguins, swans, and bears on the labels. If I ever come across a baboon, I’ll let you know.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I love words and phrases that organically emerge into popular culture, “hot mess,” for example–so very descriptive. Or “Blog” derived from Web Log. In my opinion this is a great new word that has a function in our technological world.

    However, I feel irritated by all the made up labels and words for products or companies. The worst of them seem to be for medications and financial products. So I am goin’ negative Cap’n B.

    What exactly is a Thrivent? This was once Lutheran Brotherhood the function of which I understand. And the worst of them all: Ameriprise. Let me tell you, as a former client I can tell you that what was once Investor Diversified Services (IDS) they are a poor prize with a crappy product.

    What a satisfying early morning rant. I feel much better. Give me a camera and a microphone and I will go off like Rush Limbaugh.

    Thank you for your time and attention to this ridiculous pet peeve.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I believe Thrivent was the combination of Lutheran Brotherhood (IIRC Garrison Kiellor did a great send of that as a mob organization) and Aid Association for Lutherans (AAL).

      Their marketting consultant would probably be discouraged to know my parents think it is Tri-vent, although I am not sure what they think the third part is.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Psychotropic medications all have names that promise serenity and/or a better life-Zoloft, Paxil, Abilify, Intuniv, Ambien. I wonder who came up with “Beano”?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Western Iowans may remember the very snooty racetrack in Omaha, complete with debutant royalty.

    Alas, I believe it us no more

    very exotic sounding. Also Nebraska spelled backwards.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Galorndon Core (Star Trek). Don’t ask me why, but I’ve always like the sound of it. Wanted to name the last kitten Galorndon and got an immediate and emphatic veto from the Young Adult.


  7. I’m more likely to notice awkward names than really good ones. I pay attention to car names. “Camry” works for me; “Golf” does not. Isuzu had a SUV-like vehicle they called the “Ascender.” Does that sound heroic to you, like someone who is climbing a mountain or going up the social ladder? I always heard that name as “Ass-Ender,” which suggested a rear-end car crash.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think I would enjoy a job like coming up with cool sounding names for things. Or cool sounding names of colors. I can absolutely see keeping lists of syllables and word parts to try to combine them into something that has the ‘mouth feel’ of the image they want. I can also absolutely see the struggle of trying to ‘sell’ that name to the corporate yahoos and (lack of) focus groups. But I still it’d be neat.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. its interesting where you go with that. i got to name pot and furniture designs and often went with themes that were fun. cities and geographies that led to interesting connections. artists and themes that vcould be exanded in a number of directions. it was fun. but how many naems for red can you come up with? morning rose…. crimson exhuberence… neon pink aura…. hell id want to have them come up with colors for my names in addition to me being inspired by their colors i would expect them to be inspired by my names.


  9. l few years back, l was in a conversation and meant to say “miracle”, but what came out was “mysterical”. As to brand names, l’ve thought “Extenz” annoying, but nothing’s more absurd than two people sitting in two tubs holding hands. l mean, if Cialis works so well, why aren’t they in the same tub?? A friend l once had named her cats Bartels and James. Trivia here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In the article I referenced for this post, the writer tells us that these naming firms generate hundreds of options to sell one name and then keep the leftovers in categorized lists for possible later use. But if you were a client, would you want to buy a used name, already rejected by someone else?


      1. Would you, as a client, necessarily be privy to the rejected names? I can easily see a group of creative people come up with wonderful names, more approrpiate for a different product; why let them go to waste?

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Of course, I can’t think of any amusing product names if I try to think of them.
    I do know two people (one personally and one indirectly) who do the naming thing for a living. One can really rake in the big bucks with that job.


  11. I used to like Minnegasco (Minnesota Gas Company), where Husband worked for 17 years. But then, of course, they got bought out by Arkla (an Arkansas-Louisiana group), and now they’re Centerpoint Energy, which is a really dumb name. Lost the local flavor. Why can’t anything stay the same?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.