What were they thinking? 12 terrible vintage product names

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Some product names are so perfect and catchy that they end up becoming part of the language, like Kleenex, Xerox, and Band-Aid. Well, the following 12 products fall squarely on the other end of the spectrum.

In fact, they’re so decidedly awful that you have to sit in awe of the boardroom geniuses who thought any of them would make a suitable name for a common household product. From awful double entendres to horrible diseases to the just plain bizarre, here are a dozen products from yesteryear with some of the worst names to ever grace grocery store shelves.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

1. Crax Crackers

Step on a Crax? Crax kills? Nah — not the name of something you want to eat… and asking for them by name might even get you arrested nowadays. (Print ad from 1950)



2. Ayds helps you turn down a turnover

It’s just bad luck when your brand name for a diet aid becomes synonymous with a dreaded disease. (Ad from 1978)



3. Stereo breakthrough: Bone Fone

Only a bonehead from 1980 would imagine that “Bone Fone” was a good name — it kind of sounds like a 1-900 service — or that a four-pound scarf-like speaker was a good idea.



4. Skat insect repellent

Do you really want to say that you rubbed some Skat on yourself? (From 1952)



5. Meds tampons

Gives statements like, “She really needs her meds” and “I forgot to take my meds” a totally different meaning. (Feminine products on the market in 1951.)



6. Force cereal

We’d imagine that people would have to be forced to eat this cereal from 1903.



7. Sea Molds

Calls to mind fungi on the ocean floor… that women could wear in 1950.



8. Macho, macho man

A name that meant “manly” when this cologne was introduced now just makes people laugh — or starts them singing the 1978 hit song by the Village People. And let’s not discuss how, um, masculine the bottle shape is. (Ad from 1977)

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9. Pro-phy-lac-tic

One name from more than a century ago would absolutely never fly today — that of the Prophylactic toothbrush. While the definition of the actual word “prophylactic” hasn’t changed — meaning preventative, precautionary, protective — its modern-day usage typically suggests a latex doodad that helps with the prevention of pregnancy and STDs.



10. Quest feminine deodorant

Do you really smell so bad that you need to embark upon “a long and difficult effort to… do something”? (That’s the definition from Merriam-Webster for the word “quest.”) But hey — it’s so neat to use! (Ad from 1959)



11. Pream “cream”

“New, easy thrifty way to ‘cream’ your coffee” for the folks in 1955.



12. Hamies

Marketing Department: “What should we call these ham-flavored crackers?” Marketing department lackey channeling his 4-year-old daughter: “What about Hammies?” Marketing department secretary: “We can take out one M to make the name really groovy.” Or so we imagine the conversation might have gone before these crackers hit grocery store shelves in the late sixties. (Ad from 1967)


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