Denny's Daily Zinger: Risqué, Outrageous Business Names
Back in 1984, when Peggy and I started a newsletter and archive service about junk mail for junk mailers, it took about 30 seconds to come up with a name.
The two criteria:
- The name should instantly communicate what the business is.
- We didn't want my name on it. If we ever sold (for example), "The Hatch Report," the buyer should not be shackled with my name.
The name we came up with (in 30 seconds): WHO'S MAILING WHAT!
Thirty years later, WHO'S MAILNG WHAT! is still in business.
What triggered this piece was a New York Times story I found both amusing and puzzling: "Risqué Names Reap Rewards for Some Companies," by John Grossman.
Here were profiles of companies whose owners chose outrageous names:
- Big Ass Fans—for cooling homes and businesses
- Sassy Bitch—Wines from Chile
- Fat Bastard—Wines from Seattle
- Kickass Cupcakes—Somerville, Mass.
- Holy Crap—High fiber breakfast cereal
- eggslut—a California restaurant
- Mammoth Erection—Scaffold Erection and Dismantle Services, Canada
Only the cupcake baker needs no explanation.
- The names are attention-getting and memorable.
- The URLs are the company name.
The Possible Downsides
- Imagine a teacher asking a kid to tell the class the name of her father's business.
- Would an entrepreneur with young children buy one of these businesses when it came time to sell?
- Is a spike-in-the-eye name indicative of the customer service?
Takeaway to Consider
- Do you know an outrageous company name to share with readers?
Denny Hatch 's new book is "Write Everything Right!" Drayton Bird writes, "I have never seen such a rich treasury of relevant knowledge about every kind of writing—from what makes a best seller to which words are most looked up by the readers of The New York Times." Click here to download (opens as a PDF) and read the first three chapters FREE. The title is also available on Kindle. Reach Denny at email@example.com