Brand Naming: Don’t Be Afraid To Use Humor

Steve RivkinMarch 17, 20114902 min

Brand Naming: Don’t Be Afraid To Use Humor

Would “outlandish” work in your category?

Consider the rough-and-tumble moving industry, where independent carriers are proud of their reputation as tough guys who tackle any challenge. Some of their names push the envelope:

Hernia Movers in Wisconsin. (Tagline: “The potentate of totin’ freight.”) Check them out at

Death Wish Piano Movers in Massachusetts. They tickle the ivories at

College Hunks Hauling Junk. Begun as a summer project by two guys looking for a way to make money. It now has 30 owned or franchised locations: 800-586-5872

And then we have the story of George Boudreaux and the envelope he pushed.

Why would a small-town pharmacist give his soothing balm the outlandish name Butt Paste? Because, as he told a national magazine, “If I had called it George’s Diaper Rash Ointment, would we be talking now?”

Touché, George. (Or tushé.) Two decades ago, in Covington, Louisiana, George Boudreaux concocted a diaper rash cream made of zinc oxide, castor oil, mineral oil, boric acid and Peruvian balsam. It went on easily, had a pleasant scent, and cleaned off easily. And it worked so well that local mothers started calling for it in the middle of the night.

Then athletes discovered it helps chafing and jock itch. Others found it would treat acne, fever blisters and poison ivy.

Says pharmacist Boudreaux, “For many conditions, it works better than prescription formulas that are much more expensive.”

Now this word-of-mouth phenomenon is available online at and at mass merchandisers. Says the Wal-Mart buyer: “Yes, it’s an amusing name, but it really works.”

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Steve Rivkin

One comment

  • Chuck Lytle

    March 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I think humor can be very important in naming your brand. The name is extremely important in giving your brand the identity you want it to be perceived as. If he called it a generic name instead of “Butt Paste” then it would probably not be so popular. Because his ointment had a funny name and it worked really good, people were more inclined to talk about it. It helped make people talk about the brand and how good the ointment worked. The name of a brand can be the only reason someone picks that product. People associate the brand name with the type of people that work there. The name “Hernia Movers” probably made some people more inclined to use their services because they believed the people working there would be nice and funny too. A brand with a funny or clever name is going to do a much better job of spreading through word-of-mouth then a similar brand with a generic name. No one wants to talk about the boring one; instead they want to associate with the one that seems more fun and exciting.

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