Sharifa law: Unfortunate name choices…

Two items have Beg to Differ chuckling today. And they both have to do with names that create a bit of unintentional humour….

Image source... well it's stamped all over the photo.
Parking. Loitering. Image source... well it's stamped all over the photo.

Story 1: a tale of twins…

First, here a friend tells me through Facebook that his son just introduced him to two friends, this site twin brothers Omar and Sharif.

Now, advice this could be a coincidence, or just me showing my age, since Omar Sharif isn’t exactly a household name any more. But as I told him, if they called their other children Lara, Zhivago and Balalaika, I’m thinking the parents knew what they were doing. (and if you still don’t get it, you’re going to need Google right about now).

Story 2: and speaking of names that have become a liability…

I promised I wouldn’t comment on this story any more, and my friend blogger Shannon Mc Carney would never speak to me again if I added too much to the misery of a certain young swinging billionaire. However, the one thing that caught my eye, was the name of the sex addiction clinic where the aforementioned has hung up his clubs for the time being:

“Gentle Path”

Insert your own caption... and... cut.
I’ll let you critique the name in your heads – and possibly the comments. I’m just too classy for that.

And while Gentle Path is part of the Pine Grove Behavioral Health & Addiction Center (website here), and I’m sure they do fine work, it struck me that, gosh darn it,  a sex addiction clinic must be the hardest thing in the world to name. Or market. There are just so many double-entendre minefields.

Just try and look at the photo from the Center’s about us page (right) and not come up with a racy caption in your mind.

See? You can’t do it!

Let’s call it the Sharifa Law

Whatever you’re branding, always think about the whole “brandscape” when you pick a name – and look for unintentional humour with the eyes of your most cynical critic (me for example)!

3 thoughts on “Sharifa law: Unfortunate name choices…”

  1. Well I almost worked for a company called … (wait for it) Sohard. Link:

    Actually I was working for the parent company first so when the press release came out, of course, a lot of chuckles all around. A few years later, the joke was on me when I was reassigned to go work with them. HA.

    In all honesty, it was a case of cultural difference. The name was created as a contraction between the words “Software” and “Hardware” (the main products) … So … Hard. In German, this meant nothing really.

    As I travelled across the pond to meet my new counterparts, I dreaded having my new business cards arriving in the mail at the head office … Gulp. Or handing them out at a huge conference like RSNA … When I arrived, I was relieved to see that the original name was no longer but the new parent name with GmbH attached would suffice for now. *phew*

  2. Oh my. You could see a few unfortunate giggles coming out of that one.
    When I go to visit my sister in Stratford Ontario, we always have to drive by the large FAG Bearings plant, and I always try to imagine handing over a business card with that at the top. Hmm. I’m sensing a blog post coming on….

  3. 🙂 A blog post about how we should consider cultural differences while branding or whenever doing business. Here is another example: my last name is “Ng” … which is quite a common Chinese name in HongKong. On my first trip to South Korea, I had some puzzled looks and even some smirks when I handed out my business cards to my counterparts. I brushed it off but later I understood why. When I entered the computer lab, I saw rows and rows of our boards and then in one area, marked with bold RED, “NG” on each one … Huh? They smirked and told me that is how they marked their “No Good” boards … my self-esteem took a dive that day and had to work extra hard or I feared to be called “Ms. No Good” who came all the way from Canada and could not fix the problem. No kidding.

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