At this time of year many folks are looking for Christmas presents for their kids, and many people want to get something that is more centered around creative play instead of the pre-packed products that are most popular now. They look to the older toys, to Erector Sets, Lincoln Logs, LEGO sets, and so on. At the same time, as someone who writes some offbeat articles for Gear Diary I end up with all kinds of emails, from consumer safety information to import oddities to … well, badly named kids toy sets!
At a time when there are seemingly weekly recalls of products containing lead or mercury or other harmful heavy metals, the LAST thing it would seem appropriate to do is name a toy after one of those metals! But today I got an email from, touting their ‘MERCURY’ construction sets for kids!
Here is their description:
MERCURY Construction Sets could be the best toy you could get for your children ever.
These construction sets are manufactured for more than 60 years and a lot of
excellent engineers, technicians and constructors started aquiring their technical skills
when they created their models of machines, cars, planes and many other types of
various mechanical devices with these one-of-kind Mercury construction sets.
These construction sets offers superior learning and entertaining possibilities for your children.
Your children will acquire the following skills and knowledges:
1. Understanding of construction and function of various mechanical devices
2. Great training of technical imagination and problem solving.
3. Acquiring of great mechanical skills for assembling of various mechanical devices.
You can be sure that Mercury construction sets will give a lot of fun, technical training and
education to your children. Maybe you will enjoy these construction sets by yourself too.
I almost deleted the email, but taking a look at the web page showed me something: these are high quality, well thought out sets that I would NEVER buy based solely on the name, the same way I wouldn’t get the arsenic soup or drink the cyanide punch. Take a look at their massive Army construction set:
My advice to these folks – get someone to help you out with product naming! You have a great assortment of high quality toys, the stuff my mother would have fallen over herself to buy my kids when they were younger … but using a toxic metal as the name of your collection? Not so bright.
What is your choice for worst idea for a product name? Let us know in the comments!
But for now, let’s close with the Crunchy Frog skit from Monty Python, as it is all about the wonderfully dangerous side of products and names …