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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 12:16 GMT
Spoof brand names snapped up for real
A prank website set up to mock the trend for nonsense brand names has spectacularly backfired on its creators, after several of the spoof names have been registered for real.

Aviva, Diageo, Corus... the trend for rebranding companies with "nonsense" names has led to some notable additions to the corporate lexicon.

But a stunt designed to ridicule the tendency has come back to haunt its creators after several spoof names were registered for real.

The website What Brand Are You? was created by an advertising company to satirise the mania for rebranding that has given us such gems as Consignia and Accenture.

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Users of the site are asked to enter their name and select from a menu of core values, such as "dynamic" or "passionate", and a main goal, such as "global leadership" or "client focus".

Click the button and the site returns a suitably trite brand name. Examples include Aliquis, Vulgo and Accumulo.

"There are about 150 possible names. We just came up with them one afternoon last year," says Ben Terrett, of the Design Conspiracy.

The idea was to generate publicity for the agency while having a go at the "uninspiring" trend for nonsense brand names.

Latinate origin

Whatbrandareyou.com has since been picked out as a site of the day by the likes of the Financial Times, Yahoo, Media Guardian and the Daily Mirror, and has received more than 100,000 hits.

We were just literally trying to think of the most stupid company names
Ben Terrett, Design Conspiracy
But it seems not everyone got the joke - 20 of the spoof names, including Bivium, Libero and Ualeo have since been registered with Companies House.

"We used an online Latin dictionary to come up with some of the names, and just added an 'i' or and 'a' to the end. Others, like Ualeo, we don't even know how to pronounce," says Mr Terrett.

"We were just literally trying to think of the most stupid company names."

All of which comes as news to businessman Amit Roy, who registered the name Winnovate, which appears on the site. Mr Roy says he has never heard of the joke site.

A moderate choice

"I wanted a name that had a positive feel that implied innovation," says Mr Roy, who will use the name for his financial services company.

Other names snapped up from the site, include:
Tempero, which was also dreamed up by the folks at Design Conspiracy, has been registered by a media company that moderates internet chat sites.

Like Mr Roy, Jasmine Malik, who set up the firm, says she has never heard of Whatsmybrandname.com.

"Tempero is the Latin for moderation. We wanted something that was going to be a bit different, not gimmicky. It made the business seem more real than just something like Moderation Services Limited."

Even if he can't take direct credit for the names, Mr Terrett says: "Clearly, we have an aptitude for thinking up company names. But then, it's a lot easier than it seems."

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