“What’s in a name?”

Watch this video once and see if you can’t keep it out of your head for the rest of the day…

It’s “The Name Game” by Shirley Ellis, released in late 1964.  If you were ever a kid, or ever had a kid, or were ever drunk enough to actually try karaoke, you’ve probably tried singing this tune at some point in your life.

It’s cute, it’s silly, and it’s part of our pop culture.

Try doing it with “Bumble-Bee.”

“Bumble-bee, bumble-bee, bo-bumble-bee

Banana-fana-fo-umble-bee

Fee-fi-mo-mumble-bee

Bumble-Bee!”

Lots of response out there regarding Taco’s fun little contest to name our new “Smart” circulator, both pro and con.  We received over 2,800 entries for this contest and since there can only be one winner, there were over 2,800 who didn’t win. Here are some of the comments from Taco’s Facebook page:

Are you serious?”

“…could have been more unique…very disappointed…”

“…not a very professional name at all.”

“…lame name for a smart pump.”

To these responses I can only say one thing:

Lighten up!!!!!

Let’s not take ourselves tooooo seriously here, folks.

Look, we’re not naming a national monument.  It’s a product name for a heating system component.  Descriptive is good, but catchy is better.  And after all, the yellow and black color scheme kinda screams Bumble-Bee, doesn’t it?

I really like a comment posted by Dave Yates of York, PA:

“(the name) stands out from the crowd and indicates a radical change for the better in the hydronics industry.  The courage to stand out and be different in this day and age is a great move.”

Dave’s a smart guy, and he’s one of those guys that when he speaks, I listen.

But what is in a name?  Shakespeare, of course, said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.  But we’re not talking roses,  We’re talking heating stuff. Just out of curiosity, I poked through a bunch of HVAC manufacturers’ websites to scout out product names.  Here’s a sampling:

The Alpine

The Revolution

The ES2

The Independence

The Minuteman II

Vitoron 100

Vitogas

Vitodens

UB95M-200

USC

PEG-C

SFH-W

Purefire

Pinnacle

MI

MIH

WV-DV

Ultra

GV

CGI

CGa

WGO

WTGO

CWB9

COWB2

GB142

GB125BE

The Knight

GS 110

DV-8

Sentry

Sentinal

Galaxy

Intrepid

Lynx

Bobcat

Aruba

Bali

Bermuda

Bimini

Freeport

Kingston

Tobago

Prestige

Munchkin

Super-Stor

Boiler-Mate

X-Trol

Aquatrol

5000 Series

UP

Star

Anything there really knock your socks off?

Do any of you buy these products because of their name?  Do any of you not buy these products because of their name?

What’s in a name? Here’s a personal, painful example:

Back when I was a single guy in the mid-80’s, there was this girl.  She was the rarest of all combinations – she was beautiful, intelligent and hot for me.  We worked at a radio station together – she was in sales, I wrote news.

Most sales people thought of the writers as the “hired help,” but not this girl.  When she entered a room the world would seem to coalesce around her (look it up!). When you spoke with her, her head tilted in a way that made you think there was no one else in her world that mattered as much as you did.  When she laughed her amazing laugh, it made you want to laugh, too.  And her eyes – don’t get me started about her eyes!

She really dug me, and was almost perfect.

Except for one thing.

Her name was Babbette.

Babbette Barba?

Couldn’t go there. I let her name get in the way of what could have been something special, or at the very least memorable.  On the other hand, would she have been as memorable if her name had been Cindy?  Or Beth?  A regular name might have made her a regular girl, but Babbette was the perfect name for this almost perfect creature.

Is she, almost 25 years later, thinking of what could have been with “that John guy?”  Probably not.  But if my name had been Ortholemew DiPasquale Barba, I might just be stuck in her memory banks.

Ahh, to have a time machine!

There was a great article in Golf Magazine a while back (check out the full article here.  The last line is a doozy!)  on naming golf clubs. Anyone ever own a Big Bertha driver?  Did you know the club was actually named after the high-powered cannon used by the Germans during World War I?  The time gap between WWI and today may make a name like “Big Bertha” acceptable, but imagine, trying to sell a golf club (or anything else, for that matter) in Japan called the “Atom Bomb.”

I like the name “Bumble-Bee.” Thought is was kinda trite, at first, but it certainly meets the criteria for product naming.  It’s descriptive and it’s definitely catchy!  It certainly breaks the mold when it comes to product names in our industry, and a little mold-breaking is a good thing every now and again.

And it is certainly creating quite a “buzz” out there.  And that’s a very good thing!

One Response to ““What’s in a name?””

  1. John, Thanks for that bit, I have to admit I was on the “Lame Name band wagon”, but your explanation makes complete sense with me. Thanks

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