Does this Name “Bug” You?

By Laura Schroeder

October 15, 2007

Like most new moms, buying a stroller was top on my list of baby purchases. I wanted something easy to use and most of all, safe and secure for my precious newborn. Working in NYC prior to my impending arrival, I noticed a unique stroller milling about the streets of NYC. From what I could tell, it looked like my dream stroller. However, when I found out the name, Bugaboo, it made me think twice.

“Bugaboo” encompassed everything I would least want my stroller to offer as it means “something that causes fear or worry.” Alternate definitions cite it as a synonym of a bogeyman, “an imaginary monster used to frighten children” (Source, dictionary.com). Not exactly baby-friendly sentiments. I understand that many of us may not be familiar with the term “bugaboo.” However, in my chosen profession as a “namer” I (need to) have an expansive vocabulary and I knew exactly what a “bugaboo” meant.

So what does this tell us with regards to new product naming? Sometimes the most successful names may be ones break through the clutter, that make us a little uncomfortable. For one, they end up being memorable. Second, if it’s not an ultra-common word, it may become synonymous with product. Additionally, these types of name are even more effective when some element of the name is evocative of the product itself; in this case, people may see baby “buggy” in Bugaboo. Another example of this type of name is “Fandango”, an online movie ticket site. The real meaning is a “lively Spanish dance” but people may just see “fan” and associate this with entertainment. In any case, evidently the Bugaboo name seems to work, as parents are willing to spend around $800 for one…obviously it’s not something that “causes fear or worry!”!

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