There are many places to seek out baby-name inspiration: your relatives, a favorite book or movie…maybe even the pages of a celebrity rag.
But it takes an especially brave soul to name your baby after a corporate brand.
And yet, every year lots of U.S. parents do just that. There were 73 baby girls named Lexus in 2014. Twenty-three kids went by Kia, and 20 were christened Audi. And those are just some of the car names.
Disney was used on six boys last year, and 110 children (mostly male) were called Cartier.
But the craziest of all has to be ESPN. Yes, this is a name that actual parents are giving to their kids — and they have been for years.
ESPN first appeared in the Social Security database in 2004 when 10 boys were given the name. It peaked at 19 in 2006, but it was still going strong in 2014 when it went to 16 boys (there’s no record of any girls being called ESPN). I guess we should be grateful that SportsCenter hasn’t caught on.
So what’s the top corporate baby name overall? Well, to answer that question I compiled a list of the most respected business brands around the world (using sources like Interbrand) and then checked whether they appeared in the Social Security data.
Here’s what I found, ranked by the number of U.S. babies given that name in 2014:
Top baby brand names
- Chase (5,394)
- Harley (1,347)
- Zara (754)
- Tiffany (724)
- Chanel (448)
- Chevy (279)
- Mercedes (268)
- Ford (244)
- Fox (170)
- Canon (125)
- Tesla (121)
- Cristal (117)
- Cartier (110)
- Lexus (73)
- Kia (23)
- Audi (20)
- Apple (19)
- ESPN (16)
- Cisco (13)
- Hermes (8)
- Disney (6)
- Nike (6)
- Nissan (5)
Now, many of these are proper names in their own right. No one’s going to hassle you for naming your kid Chase, even if he’ll share the moniker with a famous bank. But it’s going to hard to avoid the connection if you go with Chevy or Nissan.
The list skews heavily to car names, especially luxury brands. Yes, Mercedes is a perfectly traditional name with Spanish roots, but it’s hard to imagine it would be so popular without the cachet of Daimler-Benz.
What I find interesting is that most of the brand names are solidly male or female. Somehow Americans have a strong feeling that Lexus is a girls’ name (it went to 73 females and zero males in 2014). Contrast that with camera brand Canon, which went to 125 boys and no girls. Canon, incidentally, is less popular than Cannon (two N’s), which has a more militaristic vibe and was given to 504 males last year.
Tesla is a girls’ name, despite it belonging to a male inventor and a car company known for appealing mostly to men. (You can blame the fact that the name ends in the feminine-sounding “-a” syllable.)
The most unisex brand is Audi, which was split between 12 girls and eight boys in 2014.
Apple, considered the most powerful corporate brand on Earth, went to a relatively paltry 19 babies last year (all girls). And those parents may have been more inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin using the name than the prestige of Macs and iPhones.
If you do pick a brand for your baby’s name, I’d recommend something timeless and simple. Instagram or FiveHourEnergy probably won’t hold up, but Ford will.
And who knows, maybe you can pick up enough endorsement money to pay your kids’ college tuition.