It’s important to distinguish between offbeat yet viable name proposals and genuine red flags. Think of Poison, Dior’s most iconic perfume. In the weeks following its launch in the mid-1980s, it was reported that one bottle was sold every 50 seconds – in Galeries Lafayette, Paris, alone. Its popularity reached such heights it prompted some restaurants to hang “No Smoking. No Poison” signs at the door – speak of great brand awareness for a name that evokes a lethal substance! And thirty years in, Poison still symbolizes that certain attitude, that willingness to stand out and challenge convention.
Creating new brand names is no easy task. Names have to be short to be remembered and distinctive enough to break through the clutter. Looking for potential negative connotations is best-practice as no global brand manager wants a name that means poop in a relevant language. But are all bad names, or names with some negative association, an automatic no-go?