Lard Butt

The Name Inspector has recently learned about Lard Butt, a new athletic apparel company based here in Seattle. This is a great example of naming done right.

First, there are the positive associations of lard, a filling and economical ingredient that makes fried foods taste great. The word lard also calls to mind larder, which means a supply of food or a place where food is stored. Having beans in the larder is almost better than having money in the bank, so everyone should respond positively to this association.

Then there are the many pleasant ideas and feelings evoked by the word butt. You can be the butt of a joke, which lends a mirthful quality to this name. There’s also the cigarette butt, a tangible symbol of a smoker’s satisfied craving. And of course butt means ass, bottom, rump, derriere–a crucial body part we all use and admire every day. To paraphrase Sir Mix-a-Lot, we all like butts–we cannot lie.

The words lard and butt together evoke a sense of homeyness, stability, security–even meditative stillness.

So kudos to Mark, Brent, Eric, David, and Dave. Let’s hope Lard Butt goes far. Or at least, as far as it feels like going.

12 Responses to “Lard Butt”

  1. on 11 Mar 2009 at 1:01 pm Bryan

    I couldn’t help but laugh when I first saw this. It’s a good name.

  2. on 11 Mar 2009 at 10:41 pm Creator

    I find this name very funny too! But, although I understand what you mean by positive associations, I can’t help but translate “Lard but” into something more vulgar, such as “fat ass”.

  3. on 12 Mar 2009 at 2:19 am Noah Slater

    I was trying to think of reasons you’d want to pull a practical joke on your readers, but I cannot think of any. Lard makes one think of cheep food, unhealthy ingredients, and obesity. Combined with the word butt, which is a horrible word no matter which way you look at it, this inspires imagery of overweight bottoms, fat, and cellulite. Hardly what I want to think about when I’m considering sporting wear.

  4. on 12 Mar 2009 at 11:19 am The Name Inspector

    Oh people, really, can’t you tell when The Name Inspector has his tongue in his cheek?

  5. on 13 Mar 2009 at 2:52 pm Fransie

    Ha! And I thought that my english was just too poor, and that I didn’t understand american, since lard butt sounds to me as fat ass, and I trust The Name Inspector on his words (don’t ask me why).

    Well, I do have some language limitations I guess, since I didn’t see the joke.

  6. on 19 Mar 2009 at 7:05 am June

    Maybe it is unrealistic to expect that deadpan sarcasm will read as sarcasm, out of the blue (in a context where people are so unused to seeing it)!

    We become used to a voice in a blog and have certain expectations for it — I have been reading this one for a long time and the expectation is certainly that it’s professional, erudite, serious…

  7. on 19 Mar 2009 at 7:06 am June

    The irony is that Lard Butt is a beautiful name for the company — memorable, edgy, suggests daring and pushing boundaries in a fun way (probably exactly the feelings you want to inspire in people buying atheletic wear). It coulda been a real entry!

  8. on 19 Mar 2009 at 9:05 am The Name Inspector

    June: You’re right on both counts. I actually love the name Lard Butt for what it is. One of the founders contacted me and let me know he got a laugh out of the post. I just thought it would be funny to write about Lard Butt as if it were simply a great name with no ironically embraced negative meaning (of course it means ‘fat ass’!), but apparently that really threw people. Even my spouse didn’t see the joke, so clearly it didn’t work. But come on, quoting Sir Mix-a-Lot? Meditative stillness? Surely these should have tipped people off. Maybe I should have saved this post for April 1st.

  9. on 04 Apr 2009 at 4:02 am June

    Yeah, you could do April 1st posts — I bet they would be more clever than most people’s April 1st silliness. My favorite part of this one was “There’s also the cigarette butt, a tangible symbol of a smoker’s satisfied craving.” :)

  10. on 24 May 2009 at 6:26 am Wayfarer

    I completely disagree. Lard butt is catchy and memorable – but in a degrading way. It’s impossible to not make the leap to ‘fat ass’ – and why would a customer want to wear apparel that identifies them as fat or below average? What need does that meet?

  11. on 24 May 2009 at 7:48 am The Name Inspector

    Hi Wayfarer,

    Thanks for your comment. I think the need met by a name like this is the need to be real and honest and to show that you can laugh at yourself. Wearing something branded “Fat Ass” is self-deprecating humor. It’s like trash-talk directed at yourself. It says, “Hey, I know I’m not a great athlete, but I enjoy sports anyway”. Lard Butt offers a refreshing break from the earnest fantasy that’s behind most sports gear marketing–the fantasy that we’re all striving for a simulacrum of professional athletic glory.

  12. on 06 Jul 2009 at 2:47 pm Brandon Zylstra

    I have to admit I didn’t get the joke, but I guess I can see it now in retrospect.

    The only benefits I can see of a name like that are
    1) it’s mildly funny in a juvenile sort of way (especially with the tag line “get cracking”)
    2) it might possibly remind people of their motivation for exercising.

    I personally wouldn’t bet on a name like that, but it just might work. On the other hand it might end up being another Rent-a-Wreck, which I’d be as likely to rent from as I would to stay the night at a place called Roach Motel. Of course “Lard Butt” is making fun of the wearer, not putting down the product itself, which may make all the difference.

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