- What’s your favourite funny brand name?
I have my own collection of amusing personal favourites. This hilarity is usually a result of the brand name having a different meaning in another language.
Earlier this week a new funny brand name made the news – The Indian Sportswear range called “Spunk”. Not a problematic name in markets outside the UK. Although in British English Spunk is used as a slang word for semen. Ok, this raised more of a smile than a laugh, but funny nonetheless.
Why do we continue to see hilarious brand names in different languages?
There are two key reasons for this. First, some brands may not have international aspirations. Quite simply, there is no need to adopt a name for other languages if the focus is on the domestic market. Second, it can partly be put down to a lack of market research. A lack of research results in failure to understand the language and culture of international markets.
Choosing a brand name is certainly no easy task. Successful brand names tend to be meaningful, represent the core values of a company, are easy to pronounce and translate well into different languages.
My research into China’s leading brands hasn’t found what I would call a funny brand name. However, there is one Chinese brand name that has laughter at its core – the Hangzhou based Chinese brand “Wahaha”. The largest beverage brand in China. To give it its full company name – Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co. Ltd.
The likelihood is that you’ve never heard of Wahaha. This is because it’s still mainly focused on the Chinese domestic market. Wahaha definitely doesn’t have the same level of awareness outside China as Lenovo or Alibaba. Yet, what it does have is a great brand name that has the potential to travel well. Here are the reasons why:
1. Wahaha means “Laughing Child” in Chinese. The name combines the character for baby (Wa) with the sound of laughter. This is a meaningful name given that the company provides clothing for kids, produces dairy drinks, juices, infant food and healthcare products.
2. The name is distinctive and helps Wahaha to stand out from its competitors.
3. Wahaha uses alliteration to good effect. Alliteration is a grammatical term meaning two or more words in a row starting with the same sounds. The brand uses this alliterative effect to make sure that their name is memorable.
4. Wahaha also uses onomatopoeia. This means a word that sounds like the sound of the object it is describing. In this case, the “Wahaha” sound is like that of the object it is describing – a laughing child. Mandarin relies on onomatopoeia for laughter: 哈哈, pronounced hā hā.
5. When Wahaha decides to step up its internationalisation, fortunately it has a brand name that is likely to travel well as it’s easy to pronounce and has a “fun element”.
6. The name is unique and easily recognisable.
So, although China’s leading brands may not have a funny brand name, there is one “Laughing brand name” that works particularly well – Wahaha.