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It’s a well-worn cliché, but what’s in a name? In business, the most important thing is staking your claim right from the get-go and the easiest way to achieve this is to get your name right. It’s the first impression we give out, it summarises and encapsulates our attitude and perspective on business. We’ve all seen shops with gloriously cheesy puns as their names. A good pun is a thing of beauty: snappy, illustrative, intriguing. But in the wrong hands… well, a pun can be deadly. Double entendres notwithstanding, the world of shop signage is teeming with well-meaning but catastrophic names – always pick with care…!

Oh yes!

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pun; and even more a skillful double entendre. On my search I have found lots that made me smile/laugh; from a simple play on a name such as a plumbing supply store called ‘Napoleon Boiler Parts,’ to the clever joinery firm called ‘Chisel Me Timbers.’


Obviously, context is all: a funeral directors is hardly the right place for an amusing snippet of wordplay (though they do exist!). Here are a couple of shop names that caught my eye… ‘Hindenburger’ the flame-broiled take away – bad pun and very bad taste (and I don’t mean the burgers!).

I don’t know if by a massive coincidence the man who runs this shoe shop is called ‘Richard Soles’ or if it was a spectacularly misguided attempt at a pun: either way it illustrates the importance of thoroughly thinking through a business name, and saying the name out loud before putting it on a sign! Well, would you buy your louboutins there?!

Oh dear…

There are also occasions where it is not a ‘bad pun’ but a name that has not been given as much thought as it should have – accidents do happen. These kind of speak for themselves… hmm…

Although there is much fun to be had finding these online – would you want your business on the list?

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