I’m a professional product namer. I excel at coming up with great names for all kinds of services and products that are for sale to the public. When I was an advertising copywriter, for example, I came up with a financial program called PEP – it was a Personal Employment Plan like a 401k, and the jingle I came up with was, “Come in for a PEP Talk.” Since then, I’ve worked with various companies to help name everything from hair salons to prescription drugs.
Product naming is a great skill to have and it helps to have a way with words. It takes time, effort, and research, to create a moniker that will resonate and hit home with the public and make them want to buy your product or service. Companies spend thousands and thousands of dollars on finding the best name possible for what they are selling.
Which is why I am aghast, appalled and disgusted at a story that The Boston Globe newspaper published today about a local entrepreneur, who is also a professor at Babson College, who has a launched a dental product.
His new name for his business has an unprintable expletive in its title.
What a horrible example this sets. It’s bad enough to have TV shows with titles like “S*** My Dad Says” and popular books like “Go The F*** To Sleep.”
Now, here’s yet another example of someone pushing the envelope, once more, to have a product that showcases a profanity. I’m purposely not telling you the name of this dental product, nor hint at it. I hope that no one else prints the name of what this entrepreneur is selling, because it doesn’t deserve the publicity.
Apparently the name is just one big joke on the professor’s part. But it’s not funny. Trying to make profanity mainstream is offensive, and just another example of someone taking the lowest road possible. There’s nothing creative about simply using a profanity to get publicity. It’s like stand-up comedians who resort to swear words instead of using their creativity to make you laugh. It’s a cop-out. And it’s a bad marketing idea.
Today The Boston Globe did not print the name of the product.
But you know what? Based on all the media that I read and watch, it’s just a matter of time. I give it about five years, and then, just wait – we will all be bombarded with profanity in the media, left and right. As it is, now many major media (except for newspapers) do publish all kinds of profanity, including the F-word. We are so coarsened to this type of language that many of us don’t even notice. Right now, there are a handful of words that the media won’t publish. But be warned – because very soon all profanity will go mainstream in the media, and most people won’t blink an eye when it is used in polite conversations. Even now, I overhear people – at the supermarket, in the gym, for example – using swear words and not lowering their voices. They speak loud and clear.
What the heck happened to etiquette?