The game with these names

Here are some brands whose names raised more than an eyebrow.

Most brands want to be sensations – they want customers to think their products are amazing, and look for ways to build a personality that goes with those ideals. Sometimes, though, these attempts to do so can land them in hot water, be it a product, a campaign or their choice of brand name. Here are some brands whose names raised more than an eyebrow.

FCUK is a well-known brand of apparel. It stands for French Connection UK and reports have it that the name sprung from faxes exchanged between its offices in Hong Kong and UK, headed FCHK and FCUK. British adman Trevor Beattie is said to have spotted the potential in the initials that are now a well-known brand name. Expectedly, the name did not go down well with several consumers, especially parents of teenagers who wanted to sport the brand’s clothes that had lines punning on the brand name. French Connection stopped using the acronym in advertising in 2005, and pared its usage in its stores.

If you thought that name was bad enough, how do you feel about F**K**G Hell beer? It’s a pale lager from a village called F**K**G in Austria. The word for ‘pale’ in German is hell. Both the village authorities and the European Union’s Trade Marks and Designs Registration Office objected to the name but eventually, it was accepted. Reportedly, the beer is not brewed in the village, and when it was launched a few years ago, the village had no brewery.

Earlier this year, cosmetics brand ColourPop had to apologise and rebrand some of the make-up pencils it launched for darker skin tones. Some of them were called Yikes, Typo and Dume, the last of which, according to Urban Dictionary, means “being stupid and not able to send a legible text message or electronic message by misspelling even the simplest words.” They were rebranded Bloom, Platonic and Point Dume, after a promontory in Malibu, California.

When Mattel released Oreo Barbie, in association with the Oreo brand of cookie, people were quick to point out that Oreo was a derogatory nickname for an African American who acts white.

When Mazda named one of its cars Laputa after a flying island from Gulliver’s Travels, it did not know it would be putting off Spanish-speaking customers. In fact, car names such as Pajero, Moco and Pinto, and Lumia, the smartphone, have had not always savoury connotations for speakers of the language, the meanings of which are available on the Internet.

Compiled by Sravanthi Challapalli

Published on November 03, 2016

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