Lisa Merriam

Unintentionally Funny Brand Names: BARF Pet Food

Funny brand names work. If you have a pet, you’ve surely dealt with your share of barf. In light of that, would you eagerly feed your dog or cat BARF brand pet food?

Funny-Brand-Names-BARFBelieve it or not, the company BARF World has made a business selling raw BARF to pet owners across the country. I’ve scoured the BARF site and can find no sign that the company is aware that their brand name might make customers think of vomit or that people might find their name funny.

As I wrote in my book Merriam’s Guide to Naming , funny brand names can make extremely effective brands. The problem is when brand names are unintentionally funny. How much more power could the BARF brand pack if, in addition to being Biologically Appropriate Raw Food, the company was positioned around a concept such as “pets who eat BARF don’t barf”? How much marketing traction would you get selling frozen patties of raw BARF? And who doesn’t believe that dogs love BARF? The PR possibilities are endless for this kind of humor.

It is important that you be aware of all associations your brand name inspires and to make use of them. The BARF product is really compelling, but the brand name is less so.


More naming resources:

Naming How-To:

Naming Mistakes
Six Factors for a Memorable and Motivating Name
History of Best Known Brands
Styles and Types of Brands
Choosing a Name
Try a Recycled Name
Web 2.0 Naming Considerations
What is Brand Architecture
Approaches to Brand Architecture
Brand Architecture and Business Strategy

Companies and Products:

MSNBC vs. and The Bigger Naming Problem
Macy’s Blunder with Marshall Field’s Name Change
Banks and the Name Game from Bank Marketing Magazine
AIG Name Change to AIU
Breaking Up the Motorola Brand
Google’s Speedbook Disaster
Renaming a Small Business
Proxios CEO Talks About Renaming Process
Naming a Green Sportswear Company
Unintentionally Funny Names-BARF
Unintentionally Funny Names-Putzmeister
Unintentionally Funny Names-Bimbo
Renaming a $2 Billion IPG Agency
Renaming Iraqi Freedom
Selected Naming Portfolio