Names are important. When you’re in the market for a product–any sort of product–the name is likely to influence your decision, whether you admit it or not. Would a Jaguar still be the epitome of luxury cars if it were a Mole-rat?
Some companies choose a perfectly good name, but circumstances can change a name’s ability to draw customers. Take, for instance, Isis Skin & Body. I’m sure when the marketing department suggested the name of the Egyptian beauty queen, everyone thought it was a great idea. Who could have predicted that the name ISIS would become synonymous with terror?
When I was a kid in the 70s, my mother was often on a diet. One of the many tools she used to try to lose weight was an appetite-suppressant candy that she ate with warm water. It was called Ayds. Then in the 80s, AIDS became a killer epidemic of vast proportions. Ayds the diet aid limped along for a few more years before its inevitable death.
And then there are those names that should never been chosen in the first place. From a recent Mental Floss post, I learned that in Ghana one can drink Pee Cola and a spicy gravy product called Shitto. (And English is Ghana’s national language, so it’s not something that got lost in the translation.) In the same article, you can read about Barf detergent and Fart bars.
Shakespeare (via Juliet) famously posited: a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But I counter with this: any food labeled “Shitto” is fighting an uphill battle.