The Top Ten Worst Green Brand Names

We've finally moved beyond the eco____, green____, nature's ____, and over a decade later, we've finally stopped giggling like third graders every time we say "Prius" (which is a Latin word meaning "to precede" but sounds like, um, well, never mind). But with the coming of the Nissan Leaf, announced last week, we were befuddled. Really? Leaves are supposed to be what your sleek new fuel-efficient vehicle kicks up as you zip more responsibly through the streets. Right?

But it turns out Nissan's electric vehicle is not the only offender when it comes to misguided green names. We dug up the ten worst and tapped two of our expert design bloggers, Valerie Casey and Stuart Karten, as well as design editor Alissa Walker to assess the damage.

AW: Created by two dads who couldn't stand filth, but obviously couldn't stand the English language either.
SK: This name could be worse. "OrganBaby" was their second choice.
VC: Sounds like a mild case of gangrene.

Wheego Whip
SK: My First Electric Car from Fisher Price comes with Tiny Tyke Tire Wrench and Snuggly Soft Safety Belt.
AW: It's an electric car! It's a dessert topping!

: Tru? Is this like the way "phat" actually means attractive?
: Actually it's better than the old name of the lawncare company—TruGreen ChemLawn. That was really a mouthful.
: Two green thumbs down.

: I'm pretty sure this line of natural cleansers will be revealed as one of the Cylons on Battlestar Galactica.
: Can I buy a vowel?

motor-renewMotorola Renew
: Made in part from recycled plastic, 70% of the entire phone can be recycled. But the name just makes me think of how much it will be to renew my cell phone contract.
: My only question for Motorola: Can we recycle it into an iPhone?

Sheep Poo Paper
AW: Paper made from "super-fresh sheep poo" collected in Wales. Hey, at least it's not false advertising.
: But I'm a vegetarian...
: Sounds like a baaad idea.

Samsung Reclaim
AW: A biodegradable handset comes with a 40% corn-based plastic cover. But can you eat it if you get hungry during a long call?
VC: Iron John meets consumer electronics.

AW: Why name these natural beauty products "my essence"? If I wanted to smell like my essence I wouldn't use theirs.
SK: Is this a new perfume from the estate of Mies van der Rohe?

Barbie BCause
: "Recycling is hard!"
AW: They diced up the fabric of reclaimed Barbie clothes and pieced it together into freaky patchwork patterns fit for hobos. Why? Just BCause.
VC: No need to stick your finger down your throat to get Barbie's figure, now you just need to look at the eco-outfit!

Pepsi Natural
VC: An excellent laxative to pass your McMeal.
SK: As natural as the storylines on The Hills.

What green brands pain you to say, even if they are good for the planet?

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  • Richard Laurence Baron

    I agree that "BabyGanics" is...bizarre (and the article overall is mildly hilarious). However, I have had clients like Valerie Casey and Stuart Karten - if there's a negative or a salacious turn to a brand name or a headline, they'll savage it immediately: Instant and mocking dismissal.

    "Leaf" may not be the best possible brand name for the new Nissan model. Still, the simple fact that the company has NOT beaten the metaphor to death gives them some credibility. The website is clean and communicative. Why not give the company's marketers and ad agency a chance to make something of this before you make fun?

  • G R

    I don't consider anything green unless I recycle something old for a new purpose (and only if it wasn't imported originally). I reuse the occasional home gray water for my flowers. I use a laundry line to dry my clothes in the summer. I ride my bike to work at least once a week (great exercize). I recycle every piece of paper (including especially mail ads, magazine inserts, and menus left on my front gate). I drink from the same plastic bottle at work for 2-3 weeks then recycle it, too. I never eat at fast food places that use styrofoam or plastic box packaging. I borrow movies from the library instead of renting from Netflix, which requires use of fossil fuel to deliver.

    To me, anything corporate-created that says "Green" is a scam and probably anything but responsible because it probably took a considerable amount of extra effort to create the dishonest marketing plan and altered product. Green is easy, not hard. I will never trust corporate America or International to deliver anything responsible that I can't already find perfectly designed in nature or the thrift shop or someone else's trash.