Branding Errors

The recently published survey of first names given to children in England and Wales in 2014 shows that the usual unsurprising and uninspiring choices continue to dominate both the girls and boys lists.

From a marketing perspective a name is part of your branding strategy, and it seems that remarkably few parents consider the problems of differentiation when giving their offspring the same name as several thousand others born in the same year ;-)

But, if you dig a little further down the list, things start to get interesting and reveal some startlingly bad branding choices by parents. Of particular interest, and commented upon in the media, are those names influenced by the popularity of Game of Thrones.

53 new born girls were given the name “Khaleesi” by their parents, presumably in the hope that they'll grow up to look like Emilia Clarke. Khaleesi has been wrongly translated by media outlets as the Dothraki word for “Queen” and having a first name of “Queen” isn't the worst thing in the world to happen to a small girl. However, a quick Google reveals that it actually appears to mean “wife of a Khal”, with Khal being the title of Dothraki warlords. So, in effect, our 53 little girls have a first name which means “wife of guy with big sword”. 

But the girls get off lightly. Spare a thought for the 18 boys who have given the name “Theon”, presumably in honour of Theon Greyjoy and not the scholar and mathmetician Theon of Alexandria.

Which one would you name a child after?

Which one would you name a child after?

Theon Greyjoy (as followers of either the books or TV series will know) betrayed his friends, lost the castle he gained as a result of that betrayal and was then tortured and castrated by his captor, the wonderfully inventive Ramsey Snow. On the positive side he was given a new name* during the course of his adventures, “Reek”. I can't find Reek on the list this year but I'll be watching out for it next year.

* I considered using the phrase “was re-branded” but it was too corny even for me.