My latest column for the Visual Thesaurus, published today, looks at brand names that break the ultimate naming taboo: death. You’ll have to subscribe (just $19.95 a year!) to read the full text; here’s an excerpt:
At your local liquor store, you can find bottles of Black Death Vodka, Death’s Door gin, Death & Taxes beer, and red wines from Australia named Dead Letter Office and Dead Arm. There’s an upscale New York City boîte called Death + Company, and a popular San Francisco Bay Area restaurant called The Dead Fish.
A cosmetics website sells Dead Sexy No. 6 perfume. A business called Dead Sexy Nails, in Southern California, will give you a manicure (to die for, presumably). You can buy sportswear from companies called Board 2 Death, Death Grip, and Death Nail. (The last name is an eggcorn of “death knell.”)
If you’re in Key West, Florida, you can stop by Baby's Coffee for a bag of Death by Coffee, a proprietary blend of beans. If you’re in Boston and have a baby grand to transport, you can call Death Wish Piano Movers (motto: “We're So Good, It’s Scary!”). Pretty soon, if the trademark record is to be trusted, we’ll be seeing a line of toy cars from Mattel called Dead Fast.
Read the rest of “Death to Branding!”
Click the Death category at the bottom of this post to read my previous posts about “dead” brands. And stay tuned: It’s Life-or-Death Week on Fritinancy, and I’ll have more reports from both sides of branding’s Great Divide.