I’ve recently been hearing a lot of radio ads for Massage Envy, which I believe is the first national chain of massage clinics. I know very little about the company other than two things: they have a clean, neatly designed website, and I don’t like their brand name.
I’m sorry, but since “massage” and “envy” are two words that don’t go together naturally, I can only assume that the brand name is a play on the phrase “penis envy.” If that’s the case, it’s a pretty tasteless play on words, and if it isn’t the case, it might as well be since that’s the association most people will probably come up with. (Unless, of course, I’m the only one, in which case I should probably be surfing for therapists rather than typing a blog post.)
I love brand names that are distinctive, and I have to admit that Massage Envy gets decent marks on that count. But that’s not enough. A brand name needs to evoke the kind of imagery you want people to associate with your brand. Based on the fairly professional look of Massage Envy’s website, I would have to guess that the imagery suggested by their brand name is not the way they want to position their company.
Selecting a brand name is like selecting a name for one of your children; you’re going to have to live with your decision for a long time, and life can be a lot easier–or harder–depending on what name you choose.
If you’re told that you’re about to interview a job candidate named “Jethro”, you’re likely to develop certain expectations and assumptions about him. Those expectations and assumptions my ultimately prove to be inaccurate, but they will nonetheless form an obstacle this candidate will need to–and might not be able to–overcome. In this age of increasing clutter and decreasing attention spans, new brands simply can’t afford to pose such obstacles to prospective new customers.
So…Is Massage Envy an ill-advised play on words–or is it just me?