I'm Not Eating That: A Disaster in the Naming

Mmmmm… tchotchkes…

Mmmmm… tchotchkes…

Knick Knacks: Dusty souvenirs and tchotchkes on your grandmother’s shelf.

Knick knacks are most certainly NOT food.

Yet, believe it or not, this is the new brand from Blue Apron. In a new partnership with Walmart, Blue Apron will be selling meal kits, minus the perishable items. You get all the grains, spices, etc. to make the meal just supplying your own meat and produce. Think of an elaborate Hamburger Helper.

This is a new market space for Blue Apron and as a product it has viability. Or it did. Until they named it Knick Knacks.

How did this happen? And who thought it was a good idea? What naming process did they use to come to this conclusion?


It reminds of a past client that came in wanting to launch a new nutraceutical whose main ingredient would be turmeric. They sat in my office and talked about their product. Good news! They even had a name! TurmeRich. And as fate would have it, the domain was also available. They were positively beaming. “Can you believe it?” Um, yeah. I really, really can, I sat thinking as they handed the naming study across my desk. I paged through the multi-page document, wondering how they couldn’t hear it themselves. “Turmer Rich”. Come on, it’s so obviously terrible.

I set the report down and looked back in disbelief. “Let me ask you a few questions,” I started. “Did you pay for this naming study?” Indeed, they had. Gulp. “Are you in anyway related to the people that wrote this report?” No, they weren’t. Whew. “Ok, here’s what I want you to do: I want you to never, ever speak to these people ever again.” They stared back. I went on, “NO ONE. And I repeat NO ONE wants to be RICH in Tumors!” The lightbulb clicked on in their eyes. They heard it now. There was no turning back.


We embarked on a naming study and happily launched their product under the name: Curmeric (Cure-MERic). Typically, using “cure” in a nutraceutical name would be a no-no. However, in this case the active ingredient in Turmeric is Curcumin which we were able to reference in the name. That it sounds like “cure” is just kismet.

Today’s lesson: Name your product wisely, folks. Go through a proper process.  

No one eats Knick Knacks.