Dec 14, 2009

Department of Hilariously Lame Business Names

Years ago I knew a person who opened a frozen yogurt business in Dearborn Heights, MI. The place was clean, inviting, and had a decent-tasting product, but I am convinced that the unimaginative name ultimately sank the business: "YoCreme N Stuff."

For years I used to hold this up as an example of a worst case scenario in choosing the name of a business, and I would have sworn that this uninspired moniker could not be topped.

That is, until the operators of a new consignment resale shop in West Toledo unveiled the signs for "Stuff 'N' More", thus providing me with a even more ill-conceived business name.

I have two theories on how the decision making occurred in the choice of the name "Stuff 'N' More." The first is that the owners locked a dozen people in a room with 10 cases of beer, and that after all sentient thought had been erased via massive consumption of Budweiser, the besotted focus group leader crawled to the door and belched a drunken "Stuff....N....More" before passing out.

The second theory is that the owners deliberately chose the worst possible name for a new business with the hopes that enough people - like me - would talk and write about the lousy name choice. This would be akin to producing a radio advertisement so horrible that people would laugh and the marketing message would subversively infiltrate the brains of listeners.

Unfortunately, the name "Stuff 'N' More" is just dull, lame, and pointless.

To their credit, the owners have designed an attractive looking logo and website for their brainchild. They will also benefit from the fact that the new business is in the same spot as previous resale businesses, so they might draw some consumers familiar with the history of the space.

Yet the creation of a public image for a brand takes a great deal of intellectual and financial capital, and burdening a business with a useless name is like trying to go 15 rounds in a prizefight with both gloves strapped together and while wearing a tin bucket over your head. When a new enterprise starts out, it is critical to develop a catchy name that quickly communicates the nature of the business.

"Stuff 'N' More" succeeds only causing me to scratch my head and wonder what, exactly, the owners were thinking when they came up with this generic and forgettable appellation. For their sake, I hope that these consignment connoisseurs have one hell of a marketing budget set aside to overcome their stillborn nom du commerce.


Anonymous said...

That IS bad!!!

Craig K. said...

Mr high and mighty perfesser just knows everything about running a business. Maybe you should work a real job instead of criticizing others, because its a lot harder out here in the real world. said...

Wasn't "Stuff 'N' More 19" the name of a porn movie on pay per view the other night?

ProfessorSeal said...

Craig K has me pissing myself laughing. Dr. History Mike knows more about the real world than any ten people together. Just ask him, his wife, his kids, his adopted kids, his pets, his foster pets, his friends, and anyone else whose lives are better for knowing him.

Oh, and by the way, grow a pair, because I guarantee you would never say this face-to-face.

PS: (Not a good out loud word)

historymike said...


You are too funny.

historymike said...

Professor Seal:

You are too kind, sir, but thanks for having my virtual back.

historymike said...

Craig K.:

In my defense, I should add that I am relatively new to the "perfesser" business. Prior to returning to school in the new milennium, at one time or another I owned five restaurants, a party store, a resale shop, an Internet numismatic business, and a lawn care business.

I think that qualifies me to weigh in on lame business names.

Jason said...

I think that qualifies me to weigh in on lame business names.
Hell, I think being a consumer qualifies you to weigh in on lame business names. :)

microdot said...

I personally would have preferred More'n Stuff....
It's catchy, hip and it rolls off the epiglottis like a globule of phleghm in a TB Ward...

Ben Overmyer said...

At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all freshman (you know the type), even the most oddball business moniker can become a household name given the right kind and quantity of marketing expertise.

With that said, I doubt most businesses that call themselves 'Stuff 'n' More' have the kind of foresight to hire that expertise.