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It is common knowledge that companies spend massive amounts of money to marketing consultants to come up with everything from packaging colors to catchy names for things that they sell or own. The theory is, of course, that we, the consumers, being not terribly bright, will respond exactly as they predict that we will to whatever incredibly clever and psychologically devious idea the marketers dredge up out of their fetid and avaricious imaginations. Sadly, we often prove them right.
Untold billions are spent in the quest for our attention. Statistics about age, gender, income, education, and various psychological factors are gathered together to be used by businesses and advertisers who want our money and loyalty. Highly paid professionals sit around conference tables and in think tanks seeking the perfect lure with which to bait the hook and capture our dollars. Personally, I'm thinking some of them are overpaid.
There is a beach condominium near me called, "Hidden Dunes". The name conjures up images of solitude, intimacy, solitude, and privacy. In reality, not so much. The "Hidden Dunes" rises 15 stories into the sky and sit's a stone's throw away from two other condo buildings nearly as tall on either side. Anyone who was really good at spitting watermelon seeds could undoubtedly do so from the balcony of either building onto the balconies of the "Hidden Dunes". To be fair, the poor, puny little sand dunes that were left after the last big hurricane are certainly well hidden. Of course, only a sand dune roughly the size of a cruise ship wouldn't be hidden behind a building that size. The "Hidden Dunes" is probably visible from outer space.
We are slaves to our emotions and memories when it comes to names of things. I recently saw a sign advertising an insurance company named, "Hutt Insurance." The sign informed me, in big red letters, that I could trust my life to Hutt Insurance. All I could think of was that obscenely fat slug-like creature from the Star Wars movies. If the character in the movie was any indication, you could pretty much trust a Hutt to sell his grandmother's liver to a fisherman for bait. The name, "Hutt Insurance", doesn't exactly inspire confidence and I'm pretty certain I wouldn't trust my life to a company with that particular name. On the other hand, maybe it is an organization that caters exclusively to Hutts and their insurance needs. Given that Hutts are obese, gluttonous, lazy, larcenous criminals who have a tendency to be on the receiving end of assassination attempts, they probably need insurance. I wouldn't think that they were a very good risk, however.
There are many restaurants in town that serve seafood; people here seem to be very fond of seafood you couldn't get me to eat if you paid me. Some of these restaurants specialize in specific kinds of fish. There is one such eatery named "The Grouper Grotto". Have you ever seen a grouper? I find them large, scary, and hideous. They make your average lobster look like Brad Pitt. People tell me that they are delicious, but I'll have to take their word for it. The name "Grouper" sounds too much like the kind of nickname the newspapers would give to a serial killer. Besides, they are just way too ugly to eat.
There is another restaurant in town named, (and I don't even like writing this), "Dirty Dicks House of Crabs". I am guessing that whoever dreamed up this name thought that it was terribly clever in an icky kind of way, but you wouldn't catch me in there unless I were in a coma and someone wheeled me in the door on a gurney. I am told that it is a popular dining establishment so I guess most people don't share my aversion to the name. To each his disgusting own I suppose.
Certain names are repeated over and over. Since this area is called, "The Emerald Coast", there are numerous businesses with that in their names. You have "Emerald Coast Car Sales", "Emerald Coast Furniture", "Emerald Coast Homes", and "Emerald Coast Hair and Nail Salon". Evidently, someone is concerned that we all might forget where we are at any given moment while driving down the road and feels compelled to remind us by naming everything but the kitchen sink "Emerald Coast". Their might even be an "Emerald Coast Kitchen Sink Company" for all I know. It wouldn't surprise me.
I don't think that I would want to spend my entire working life trying to think up addictive slogans or diabolically clever ads in order to snare the income of consumers. Of course, I couldn't sell ice water in you-know-where, so I probably just don't have the kind of personality for the job. I'm also so resistant to advertising that if I think that someone is trying to manipulate me too shamelessly, I will refuse to buy a product or patronize a business just out of pure contrariness. I am a marketers worst nightmare.
I wonder if those people dreaming up clever names for things get some kind of power trip out of successfully manipulating the public? Like spin doctors for politicians. Julius Caesar once said something like, "He who has the mob, has Rome". The creation of the Circus Maximus and the gladiatorial games are examples of the truth of this philosophy. It works a lot like misdirection in magic; give them something to look at in your left hand and they won't notice what you are doing with your right hand. We have all been victims of sleight of hand more than we care to admit and we have all been fooled by the spin doctors, bamboozled by the magicians, and manipulated by the marketers. But I draw the line with the guy who dreamt up "Dirty Dicks House of Crabs". That guy needs to be tarred, feathered, and run out of town. Or maybe forced to eat Grouper.
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