This Brand is Your Brand

Brand names. Company names. The names we come up with and choose to screenprint our corporate flags with. Laser cut plastic letters installed over a backlit display waiting for the timer to go off—open for business into the late evening. A clever name can mean the difference between business immortality and strip mall roadkill in three months.

You walk around a strip mall, past a pet store: Pet Agree. That’s good. It’s obvious, but not too obvious. The kind of brand/store name that when you hear/read it, you think, of course. And if you’ve said the word ‘pedigree’ aloud you may have even made that mental connection, but you failed to capitalize on it. You never registered it in your mental Rolodex of million-dollar ideas just waiting to be executed. So you appreciate seeing it in use in the world. It offers validation to your own fleeting hunch and you’re reassured that you have what it takes in case you ever decide to drop everything and become an entrepreneur or launch a branding consultancy.

You come across a nail salon, Coconails. That’s less good, if not on its face bad. You assume that it’s referring to coconuts. You stare at the letters high above and repeat the name like a mantra. Coconails. Coconails. Coconails. Nope, nothing. There’s no clear connection between nails and nuts. Maybe if it were a hardware store. Nuts and bolts. Nails and hammers. Hammers. Hammertoes. Toe nails. Nails. Coconails. Too tenuous. You delete your brain’s thought process and hit refresh. It must have to do with the coconut fruit in its entirety. Maybe they only use products, polishes, waxes, etc. derived from the coconut. Then it would be on theme. But it doesn’t reverberate in the mind. Throw it against the wall, it slides down like wet spaghetti.

I had an idea for a store name. A place where men/women/whoever could come and take care of their bodies. Too often we humans revert into our primitive primate states. The ear hair sprouting weed-like. The nose hair slinking out of nostrils like a well-executed fire drill. Always the hairs. And scaly skin. Rough hewed callused nubs that need paring and scrubbing, clean, flash-burned removal.

Human Groomin’, that’s the name. The apostrophe delivers an added oomph, a non-exclamatory exclamation that communicates a casual, yet professional sense of trust. At Human Groomin’ your grooming needs are attended to with care and consideration. The name relaxes the ivory tower, ivory skinned, ivory-walled/clinical edge and allows its patrons to shed their steel-stiff anxieties about the process. It meets you at your level, crouched and hunched on the ground avoiding detection and the all too caustic collective judgment. Human Groomin’ offers a loyalty card, too – ten treatments, one free!

There are natural brand spinoffs in play, too. Human Groovin’  a nightclub. Human Truman, an interactive experience where you walk through the childhood home of President Harry S. Truman in visually vibrant virtual reality.

Human Shroomin’ is a decent name for a head shop in Amsterdam or Denver.

Human Boomin’ offers wearable audio products to turn your fashion into a fully transportable aural experience. For example, footwear outfitted with speakers, zip-up hoodie sweatshirts with headphone pockets and pouches to thread wire invisibly across the body, where the earbuds spill out through the hood string rivets. Then again, everything’s moving wireless. But you still need the feet speakers. Maybe put the bass in the seats of pants so that when Meghan Trainor sings ‘I’m all about that bass,’ it will have a literal meaning, too. ‘We’re all about that bass,” is a good slogan.

The logos will be distinctive, connecting the Human brands together the way Apple latched onto the ‘i’ nomenclature. A whole umbrella empire ready to wage war and dominate the commercial, capitalist landscape.

Also, Human Consumin’, a Chipotle style, assembly line concept for cannibals. Chicken-fried human, buckets of breasts and thighs with cole slaw on the side, but with only a minimal amount of mayo, for health reasons. Just enough fat to transport the fat-soluble vitamins through the intestines undisturbed and deposit them in the vital organs at optimum potency. When it comes to the Human brand, the possibilities are endless*.

 

*Not really, there are only so many viable commercial concepts that rhyme with human.

Jumblings in Key West

Snippets from the past two days and nights.

  • At a bar, drinking beer, listening to the pumped-in music. First, there was a song by Cake. A short period later, a long by Spoon. A spoonful of cake, so to speak.
  • Happy-hour at a waterfront fish house. 50% off drinks and appetizers. We had conch fritters, conch ceviche, 1/2 lb of peel-n-eat shrimp and baked oysters with a key lime butter breadcrumb topping. There’s a reason why restaurants can sell their food half-off and not lose money in the transaction. As we walked away, I felt my stomach speaking to me in jabs. Luckily, nothing worse happened. The half-off mojito wasn’t good either.
  • Walking around during the day. “I’m already sweating through my shirt,” I said to my wife. “So was that guy,” she said. “Which guy?” “That guy we passed.” I didn’t see any guy. “Good.”
  • The only reliable signal (other than our hotel’s wi-fi) is the Starbuck’s wi-fi. We stand outside Starbucks for 10 minutes plotting our next foray. We don’t order anything. It’s okay, I stopped for Starbucks at least 4x on the way down. They owe me.
  • Harry S. Truman had a vacation spot in Key West dubbed ‘The Little White House’. It’s not, as I presumed, a miniature version of the White House. It’s just white and smaller than the White House. We walk to the main entrance, curious to see if it’s free. It isn’t, but next to the gift shop is a free exhibit: two rooms off to the side with some Truman paraphernalia. We walk in. Pictures of Truman abound. There’s even a guayabera shirt encased in plexiglass next to a picture that appears to be of Truman in the shirt. Points for authenticity. In the second room, there’s a couple. A wife and husband, 50-60s, white. The husband is fat and sitting in a chair. I say hi, look around. There’s a poster with all the presidents ranked up until the latter Bush (from a 2009 C-Span poll). The headline reads, Truman ranked 5th in poll of best presidents. I look at the ranking and wonder why James Buchanan ended up last. The fat husband says, “Is Obama on there?” I say: “No, the poll was taken in 2009.” He grumbles. I keep looking for John Adams. There he is two above his son, John Quincy Adams. “Want to know where I’d rank him?” I think I already know. I sidestep: “Looks like people liked John Adams more than his son.” I leave the room, never to return.
  • Eating another meal to wash away the taste from happy-hour, I order a beer, Key West Sunset Ale. “Is this a local beer?” I ask the waitress. Whenever I can drink locally, I try to. “It was local, but they got too big and moved to the mainland.” “Oh. Do you have anything else local?” “No.” “Okay, I’ll have that.”
  • There’s a pair of sisters providing live music at dinner. One only sings. The other sings backup and plays keyboard. I tip them and ask them if they can play “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus. The singer says doesn’t know it. The keyboardist laughs and says she’s never played it before. I say, “Me either.” When we leave 25 minutes later, they still hadn’t played it, but they were taking a break watching YouTube videos. I like to think they learned the song and played it later.
  • We got caught in the rain on the way to the Tropic Cinema to watch Jason Bourne. The movie was a mash-up of the previous ones and would’ve been better if I’d never seen any of them. But they still did a bang-up job with the car chases. Get it? It was still raining when we left. We quick-footed it to a bar. Drank. I looked at my wife with faux-seriousness and said, “Tell me your dreams.” She didn’t. We got rained on the whole way back to the hotel.