NIGHTMARE ON NAME STREET: How Negative Names Can Strangle Sales Success

During my time with the Luxor in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to see quite a few show--everything from KA at the MGM to Celine Dion at Caesars Palace. The best part was that these shows were FREE to ticket sellers and managers of virtually every box office in the city. One day, I got an invitation to attend a test performance of a show that was being considered for one of Luxor's theaters. "Hey, are you going to see Toxic Audio?" My initial response was to turn up my nose up and reply, "Um, no thanks. Not my kind of show." I knew nothing of Toxic Audio but to me, it sounded like music that was going to hurt my ears. Not a good first impression. Ultimately, I saw the show and learned that I couldn't have been more wrong. The trouble I had was with the show's negatively-charged name which didn't make me feel like I wanted to go-even for FREE.

Negative names have the potential to strangle sales success. Because most attractions sell products and packages where little or no brand recognition precedes them, it is essential to make a good first impression. Susan Gunelius of AYTM provides us with the following 10 Tips for Product Naming Success[1]:

1. Be Descriptive

2. Use Real Words with a Twist

3. Add a Prefix or Suffix

4. Create a Compound Word

5. Make up a Word

6. Change Spellings

7. Tweak and Blend Words

8. Use a Place or Person's Name

9. Create an Acronym or Use Initials or Numbers

10. Use a Verb

It's true that negative names, like Toxic Audio, have the potential to strangle sales success...but not always. Just like with any good horror movie, sometimes...there's a twist! Negative names can also play on our emotions, draw out our fears, and drive our adrenalin higher. At the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas, for example, two white-knuckle rides at the top of the tower attract thrill-seekers with names like X-Scream and Pure Insanity. Extreme rides, zip lines, and other unusual experiences just might be an exception to the rule.

[1] Gunelius, S. (n.d.). How to Name a Product - 10 Tips for Product Naming Success. Retrieved October 31, 2016, from

Have a safe Halloween and a great week!

"I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity."

Edgar Allen Poe