No one sets out to create an unremarkable brand name and most unfortunate naming situations are synonymous with budgetary constraints.
Sure, there are some instances where a company founder blindly chooses a name early on, a name that ends up sticking despite its deplorability. And there are instances where an evolving culture negatively influences meaning over time. But, often, a poor name is settled upon for lack of financial playroom.
And, as you’ll see, the consequences can be dire.
In this article, we’ve gathered 7 of the most unfortunate brand names ever trademarked. After discussing how we can learn from their mistakes, we’ll also reveal a revolutionary tool you can use to decrease the likelihood of your name ever ending up on a similar list.
The Four Most Unfortunate Brand Names Ever Trademarked
1. Ayds Chocolate
As far as businesses go, Ayds Candy was as uncontroversial as it gets…
Until 1981, when the media began talking about acquired immune deficiency syndrome or AIDS. Initially, Ayds decided the disease didn’t constitute enough threat to warrant a name change. But by the end of the decade, the company realized it had made a huge mistake. Their solution? Rebrand as Diet Ayds! Unfortunately, the new name was not received any better than the first (shocker). The company soon went out of business.
The Lesson: Consistently watch your trademark for potential threats to its integrity stemming from both other businesses and cultural conflicts. Act quickly to change your brand name if need be.
If you knew nothing about Adminstaff, what would you assume they do?
Providing temporary staffing services would be a solid guess. Unfortunately, you would be mistaken. The company provides offsite Human Resources and business performance solutions.
Which is why the company finally rebranded under the name Insperity. Sadly, this was after they had already spent millions of dollars on advertising trying to explain what they actually do.
The Lesson: When using a literal name, ensure it accurately describes your product or service.
3. AmericInn Hotel
AmericInn Hotel is a mid-priced hotel franchise consisting of 240 locations across the United States. While we weren’t in the room when the establishment was being named, we can imagine what it was like:
“I know – what about American spelled with the word ‘inn?’ Get it, Americ-Inn?!”
While AmericInn has done arguably well for itself, one can only wonder how much better it could have done with a different name. The problem isn’t the name itself, but its awkward spelling. Can you imagine all the clarifications that have occurred between family and friends as a result?
The Lesson: Don’t try to be too clever. And when purposefully misspelling common words, proceed with caution.
4. Pee Cola
Why settle for Coca-Cola when you can have Pee Cola?
The popular soda from Ghana means “Very good cola.” Unsurprisingly, most tourists don’t know this and tend to avoid the fizzy beverage. Since Pee Cola doesn’t seem to have plans for global expansion anytime soon, their unusual brand name most likely isn’t hurting them too much.
Nonetheless, we’re sure they would have gone with an alternative moniker had they known what Western English-speakers would associate it with.
The Lesson: Double check your brand name candidates for alternative meanings in other languages and cultures.
How to Avoid Unfortunate Brand Name Casualties
The best-case scenario: Choosing an unfortunate brand name may cause a few laughs.
The worst-case scenario: Choosing an unfortunate brand name may annihilate your company.
The good news? Most naming incidences are 100 percent avoidable.
The Solution: Comprehensive Trademark Clearance Search
With NameCheck™ — Corsearch’s intelligent trademark search solution — you can accurately rank usage similarities, while scanning for negative connotations in over 150 cultures, countries, and languages. Our databases virtually cover the entire globe, with over 180 trademark registries. And our common law data contains more than 140 million public and private companies across 191 countries.
The result? A greater likelihood of choosing the best name from the start.
*This is an informational opinion article of the author. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent official policy or positions of Corsearch or its clients.
*The above trademarks and logos are not affiliated with or owned by Corsearch, and are used for illustrative purposes only as public record from the respective Trademark Offices.
*The above-mentioned brands are noted for factual reporting purposes only, the listing of the brands.