What’s in a Name?



I run into this brand of hot sauce in Wal-Mart (at least in Louisiana), and it always gets me thinking about brand names, book titles, and character names.

It also makes me wonder, “What in the world were they thinking?”

If you happen to pass the hot sauce aisle while shopping with a friend, it also generates a ton of laughter.

Whoda thunkit: A brand of hot sauce named “Slap Ya Mama.”

I guess they’re trying to say that the sauce has a little kick to it.

If they’re trying to get a reaction, it certainly worked.

And it works for brand recognition: I’ll never forget it.

But I’ve never tried it either… Perhaps more than a few people wouldn’t feel comfortable walking up to the counter with a bottle of Slap Ya Mama hot sauce.

I can imagine teenage boys daring one another to buy a box of tampons and a bottle of Slap Ya Mama cajun pepper sauce. The look on the cashier’s face would be so worth it.

Maybe the target audience for their hot sauce doesn’t mind the name, so maybe it attracts more sales than it deters. Maybe a good portion like the name…

What if this were a book? I shudder to think of a dozen authors reading this post, all thinking, “Wow! That would be a great book title.”

Research shows that names do matter: Whether choosing brand names, book titles, or character names, these decisions can make a big impact.

When the name doesn’t work, it can deter sales. When it’s just right, it can help sales.

Three words or less, especially words easy to understand and remember, aid in brand recognition.

When the words clearly signify the product, even better.

And they have to fit. It has to sound right. These two points are important with the art of choosing character names, too.

Naming a character is like naming a baby. Except you have dozens of characters, and probably won’t have as many babies.

So what do you think about a novel named: Slap Ya Mamaβ€”A romance with a little kick to it? (A cajun romance, of course.)

Write happy, be happy. πŸ™‚

Chris McMullen

CopyrightΒ Β© 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

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32 comments on “What’s in a Name?

  1. This phrase has been in the South for as long as I can remember. Usually, it is said, “… makes you want to slap yer Mama!” I did have to laugh at the hot sauce reference. I think it is good marketing aimed at a cultural saying that people relate to. πŸ˜€

  2. It’s a regional thing. Pretty common popular product – even outside NOLA
    And some tourists love to grab that “local flavor”, “rustic”, “ethnic””quaint”, and cutesy stuff – (so they can go chortle over the backwards culture with their friends later once home.) So there’s that marketing angle.
    They be thunkin’: memorable name, and appeal to a couple of different types of audiences.
    It will make your eyes water if you aren’t used to spicy (normal) seasoning.
    It’s so good ya wanna sassily (fondly with affection) slap ya gal on the bottom to show she dun gud in serving this. It’s a regional thing.
    Always good to know who buys your products, books, or ideas – and what kind of image you are crafting.

  3. Well…look at the publicity it has already generated…maybe not such a bad idea? But you’re right…would I buy it or just walk away?? Too funny…a product actually named “Slap yo Mama”!!

  4. Mother here: do NOT approve.

    I don’t approve of a bunch of things, but start with this one – and go from there to the trip to you know where in a handbasket.

    There isn’t much respect there – is that the way Southeners treat their mothers? I find that hard to believe. Is it an ethnic thing?

    Don’t like hot sauce – it indicates that the person’s taste buds do not react any more to normal flavors – they’ve been burned out. IMHO, of course.

    Other than that, in a world with 50 Shades books, it’s relatively harmless.

      • Just in general: disrespectful language has a tendency to lead to more of the same. If something is ‘out there,’ then people assume it’s okay to put out more of the same, and it always escalates.

        The original poster may have some self-restraint; the followers don’t – they are not original, so they feel they have to ‘improve’ by taking things further in the same direction.

        It happens on ALL the internet flame wars.

        I don’t think it’s necessary, but then my temperament is ‘peacemaker,’ not ‘warrior.’

        Sorry – didn’t mean to hijack your thread!

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