August 19, 2004

I'd Like You To Meet My Daughters, Thorazine and Haldol

Back in January, I launched on parents who name their children after high-end consumer products:

"For now, the mass marketing of certain upscale brands ensures an immediate link between a luxury product and a child named for it. Says baby name author Bruce Lansky: 'Here's the cool thing about names: At no cost to you, you can acquire the same designer and a part of that cachet.'"

No, you don't. You identify yourself as a sad loser wannabe who will in all probability never own a Lexus (353 girls were given that name in 2000, according to the Social Security Administration) car or an Armani (298 girls, 273 boys in 2000) suit.

According to McPaper, this particular brand of stupidity is getting worse:

But in the tradition of Tiffany and Mercedes, high-end brand names are coming on strong: Armani, Dior and Lexus.

“Parents are looking for more unique names,” says Linda Murray, editor of, a resource for new and expectant parents. “And they're being inspired by what's around them.”

Armani came in at 711 out of the top 1,000 boy's names for 2003, based on Social Security card applications filed for children. For girls, Lexus was at 888.
Interestingly, this article uses the same 'original' examples (Tiffany and Mercedes) as the article I quoted back in January (never mind that there's a chicken-and-egg issue with Mercedes, since the marque was named for an Austrian girl).

A closer look at the numbers, though, shows that McPaper has it exactly backwards. The SSA has a website where you can search for the number of babies given a particular name (for any year between 1990 and 2003), if that name is in the top 1000. Let's take 2000, the year given in the article my January post referenced, and 2003, the most recent year they have data for. Dior didn't crack the top 1000 in either year, meaning that fewer than 149 Diors were registered in 2000 and fewer than 158 were registered in 2003. Likewise, Lexus registrations (heh) dropped from 353 in 2000 to 270 in 2003, a decrease of almost 25%. Likewise, Armani (girl) registrations dropped from 298 to 253 (about 15%). Unfortunately, Armani (boy) registrations dropped only from 273 to 265.

What I want to know is why McPaper is reporting this as a growing trend despite evidence that it's a dying trend (faster, please).

Posted by Chris at August 19, 2004 01:22 PM

Category: Media Stupidity

When I worked for the phone co, I used to talk to girl in Atlanta named Aquanette. Great name!

Posted by: jeff at August 19, 2004 02:18 PM

I'm waiting to meet my first Dasani or Aquafina. Or maybe a Sierra Mist.

Posted by: chess h at August 19, 2004 10:40 PM

I blogged about this a few weeks ago and somebody came up with the best name ever: Halliburton Jones.

I'm lovin' it.

Posted by: RightThinkingGirl at August 25, 2004 01:37 PM

The word "trend" must always be preceded by the word "growing", or the paragraph will be like a Radiohead song and only weird people will like it.

Posted by: Dave Munger at September 1, 2004 05:07 PM