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Holy Crap!

bigass fans An off-color brand name is making a helluva difference for the makers of Holy Crap cereal, reports John Grossmann (pun purely coincidental, apparently) in The New York Times (4/24/14). Originally, Corin and Brian Mullins called their product Hapi Food. After a Hapi customer called and started the conversation by exclaming, "Holy crap!," they had a good laugh and then decided that maybe they should change the name — after all, their cereal "was extremely high in fiber."

So, they tested the new name at a farmer’s market, and instantly sold 100 bags of Holy compared to 10 bags of Hapi. Annual sales grew to $5.5 million over the ensuing four years. Risque names are nothing new — Richard Branson named his record store Virgin back in 1969, for instance. But the trend seems to be gaining ground, perhaps because of "today’s seven-second site visits and 2 percent click-through rates," says Eli Altman, a branding consultant and author of Don’t Call It That.

Naama Bloom is on-trend with HelloFlo, a subscription tampon service. Business started booming for Carey Smith when he re-named his industrial fan company, Big Ass Fans. "For everyone who thinks we’re the Antichrist, there are a hundred who think this is the funniest thing ever," says Carey. Then there’s David Hall, who, just for laughs, hung a banner on a scaffolding project reading: Mammoth Erection. His phone started ringing off the hook. He has since added "the image of a hairy, tusked creature" to his logo.