Monday, July 10, 2006

Name your kid after a pill. Send him to college free.

For all you people who haven’t puked when you think about the Astrodome getting renamed Reliant Stadium, or Candlestick Park now calling itself 3Com Park, here’s an idea.

Call up your local drug company and make them an offer. Tell them, “I’ll name my new kid after any pharmaceutical product you make if you agree to pay his college tuition.”

Will this work? I dunno. But consider:

Doctors and a fair number of their patients are getting fairly fed up with all those drug company commercials pushing prescription pills to people who may not need them. And then there are all those “ignore the commercial” tools, like the remote channel switcher and the fasst forward buttons for recorded material. Plus distractions, such as blogs like mine on the Internet. Some advertisers are beginning to wonder if it’s crazy to spend millions on ads that actually get seen by 17 technologically-challenged people and a cat.

So advertisers of all kinds are looking for what they call “guerilla marketing” – ways of building public awareness of their brands outside of ordinary marketing channels. That’s where naming your kid after a pill comes in.

The beauty of people with pill names is that the names last a lifetime. As little Paxil or Viagra goes through life, his or her name will get repeated by thousands of friends, teachers, IRS auditors, prospective bosses, mail carriers, doctors and others – people who will be exposed to the name just by going about doing what they always do.

So what if your kid has to live his life as Vicodin Berkowitz or Hyzar Van Brunt? He won’t be alone. When the idea catches on, there’ll be lots of little Vicodins and Hyzars running around the sandbox.

After a while, you won’t even mind introducing your kids to people by saying, “This is my son Scabex, and my daughter, Thorazine.

If that feels too extreme, you can try offering to name your kids after the drug companies themselves.

“Lilly” is already in use as a girl’s name for example. “Novartis Fong” has a certain charming ring to it, as does, for example, “Bayer Jones” and “Pfizer Phillips.” If you want a daughter with a somewhat more exotic sounding name, say if you’re a Greek-American, “AstraZeneca Pappadapolous” sounds almost credible.

But in the puke-o-matic race to get everything on the planet named after a brand, I still like drug names best for first names. Think of the news stories:

“New York:- A man who overcame his erectile disfunction to lead a normal life has sired triplets named Viagra, Levitra and Cialis. All three girls are reportedly doing fine…”

“Washington:- In an impassioned plea to bring back the death penalty, Senator Kildane Jefferson spoke to a join session of Congress for over 15 uninterrupted hours…”

“With men on first and third bases, Zoloft Brown hit a pop fly to right field that was caught by Cipro Gallucci, ending the Yankees’ winning streak.”

“‘Lipitor The Barbarian ranks 5 stars among adventure movies!!”

Now that I think of it, maybe we could even get money for municipal construction by naming vital infrastructure after pills, too. I like the ring of the Immodium Memorial Sewage System.

Well, come to think of it, maybe not.

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