Almost exactly ten years ago I spotted what I thought was the most embarrassing name ever attached to a beauty brand: Sophistry.
It’s still in business under that wildly inappropriate name.
Today, however, thanks to Twitter follower Sam C., I met the new contender for the title: Pharmaciopy.
You may be wondering how such a flamboyantly bad name is arrived at. Well, wonder no more:
We have created Pharmaciopy upon two words pharma, which is short for pharmacy, and the phrase philosophy the understanding of nature; together Pharmaciopy delivers advanced, natural skin care preparations.
This is only technically an English-language paragraph: philosophy is not “a phrase,” and it doesn’t mean “the understanding of knowledge”; you don’t “create” a name “upon” words (or phrases). Where philosophy may be hiding in Pharmaciopy is anyone’s guess. Also, some critical punctuation is conspicuously missing. And yet the sales associate with whom I spoke assured me that the company is based in the United Kingdom, where English is, I hear, in widespread use. (I searched for confirmation of Pharmaciopy’s headquarters, but came up empty-Googled.)
Not satisfied with a perplexing corporate name, Pharmaciopy also named a product line Thrmoage (sic). The Thrmoage Viox Emerald Thermal Mask, for example, retails for $2,099 (not a typo) for 2.04 fluid ounces but does not include a pronunciation guide.
Not the most expensive product in the lineup. That honor goes to this bundle.
Even the sales associate struggled with the pronunciation. He suggested “Thera-moje” before settling on “Thermo-age.”
Clumsy spelling, #shitmanteaus, unpronounceable names: It’s the Bad Name Trifecta.
It’s possible—unlikely, sure, but possible—that Pharmaciopy’s products, some of which contain mother-of-pearl (“known for its healing and beautifying properties for over 3,000 years”) or “emerald stone” (“assisting the skin in collagen production”), work wonders. Or the magic may lie in the combination of high prices and pseudoscientific, unpronounceable names. If you really covet that “radiant and lifted” look, you’d do well to keep in mind Atlantic writer Amanda Mull’s advice: The best skin-care trick is being rich.