Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Every time I drive the main drag in our little town, I get terribly annoyed by a sign for a small business: The Smoker’s Hut. Granted, most people have important things on their minds and probably don’t notice, and I do get annoyed at weird things. I have actually found myself irritated by a font in a sign, which is just wretched. Anyway, when I first saw the sign all I could think of was “Wow, a lot of thought went into that business name!” I mean, was The Smoker’s Shop or The Smoker’s Store already taken? What do they mean by Hut? Were they going military like a Quonset hut or more of a Caribbean tiki hut thing? I can picture them sitting around the office, throwing names around, and coming up with Smoker’s Hut! Brilliant! Someone should get a bonus!

I realize it’s trivial, but I can’t be the only one who notices names and what is clever or definitely not. As in, Ye Olde Medicine Shoppe, which is a local pharmacy chain. What were they thinking? Are they trying to tempt the customer with expired meds, or was it more of trying to reach the ‘where do we buy leeches’ demographic? And the old fashioned writing? Don’t evene gete me startede.

It’s not always annoyance: I really love it when there are cool business names: the Frog and Peach Pub in San Luis Obispo is an example. I love that name. I have no idea why. The combining of two unexpected elements? Maybe. The herb shop that is called Out of Thyme? Love it. The scrapbooking seller Rock Paper Scissors, or the paper supplier Papyrus? Great. The coffee shops Daily Grind and Higher Grounds? Again, much better than The Coffee Hut.

Along the same lines are commercials that are either painful or silly or both. Just for Men is selling a men’s hair coloring treatment that allows a man to look neither too old nor too young, by taking away just some of the gray…leaving a nice salt and pepper look. I ignored the commercial when it was on simply because I can’t imagine anyone who would give a damn, until the parting line had all of us laughing out loud. The spokesman gave a knowing wink and said “Now I look like I know what I’m doing, and I still can!” BWA HA HA!

Verizon also did a little touché commercial as a take on Apple’s “We have an app for that” logo by showing their phones and the catch phrase “we have a map for that” showing their superior coverage. Cool!

I usually agree that simple is better and less is more but in this case, clever always wins!

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