Products Design Consultants Concord NH
Name Products with Caution and Research
“Unbelievably bad taste.” “An alarming level of stupidity.” “How much encouragement does the pedophile community need?”
Those were just a few of the comments in the British press after Woolworths stores in Britain were found to be selling beds named Lolita, designed for six-year-old girls. (The Lolita was a whitewashed wooden bed with pullout desk and cupboard, on sale for £395.)
Angry parents, watchdog groups and the media had to point out that the name was synonymous with sexually active preteens. Staffers at the retail chain’s online operation had been unaware, or so they said, of the name’s connection to Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel “Lolita,” and two film adaptations, the first by Stanley Kubrick in 1962 and another in 1997 that starred Jeremy Irons in the lead role of Humbert Humbert.
On Feb. 1, 2008, a spokesperson named Lisa Lim blurted the following to the British media: “There aren’t many people in the company, in the whole world, who know about the Lolita book or films. There might be a few people in the country who have a problem with it, but it’s just a name.”
Ms. Lim, try to pay attention for just a few seconds. Lolita was a 12-year-old girl who became the object of her middle-aged stepfather’s sexual obsession in that novel and those movies that you’ve never heard of.
Shortly thereafter, Ms. Lim and her mindlessness were kicked to the curb. Another staffer got involved and admitted, “We had to look it up on Wikipedia. But we certainly know who she is now.” Whereupon the retailer halted sales of the bed.
This time the public statement was less knuckle-headed: “Now that this has been brought to our attention, the product has been removed from sale with immediate effect.”
This isn’t the first time cavalier marketers have made nitwit naming decisions.
∗ Reebok had to backpedal after it blundered with the launch of a running shoe for women named the Incubus. The dictionary says an incubus is “an evil spirit belie...