Would a Rose Named ‘Pink Taco’ Smell as Sweet?
The branding agency where they came up with the names of my eyeshadows:
*Three men in shirts and ties are seated around a small table with nine shades of eye shadow scattered between them. The oldest of the three begins speaking.*
Charlie Benson, Creative Director: Ok, gentlemen, today we’ve got a palette of eye shadows to name. Amanda was supposed to head this project, but she’s out with strep throat and we’re up against a deadline, so I’m stepping in and we’re just going to knock it out. Davis, bring us up to speed on the demographic and directive of this product.
Jason Davis, Senior Ad Guy: The demographic is women, age 14-45. The product as a whole is a “Natural Eye Kit”. The client research team reports that women want to feel sexy when they’re putting on makeup, so they want us to sex the eye shadow names up. The first shade is a creamy off-white and the client suggested the name ‘Heaven’ for it.
Charlie: Hmm. Heaven. I guess that could be sort of sexy. We can do better than that, though. Let’s move on to this next shade. It looks kind of taupe-ish. Sexy images that come to mind when you think of taupe, go.
Andre Porter, Eager New Guy: Camel, skin, dirt, sand…
Davis: You’re just saying things that are brown, Andre. What about the texture… it looks kind of velvet-y. Velvet is a sexy word, right?
Charlie: Velvet is ok… but it’s been done. It needs to be sexy and edgy, don’t you think? Let’s take it to the next level. How about ‘Velvet Revolver’? Because it’s soft, but also violent. It’s pretty, but powerful. That’s like female sex appeal right there, in a box with a bow… no pun intended. *Elbows Andre and winks*
Davis: It’s also an all-male hard rock band, though…
Andre: I like it! What woman wouldn’t feel sexy brushing her eyelids with a shade named after the combination of GNR and STP? It’s genius.
Charlie: Thank you, Andre. I agree. OK, moving on.
Davis: The next color is a matte dark brown. It looks like chocolate. Or coffee. Espresso is kind of sensual with all of those Ss.
Charlie: Davis, I just fell asleep while you were talking. I think you need an espresso to wake up and give us some new ideas! How many times can we name a women’s beauty product color after a caffeinated beverage before they throw us out of the business for being completely unoriginal?
Davis: Sorry, I was just brainstorming. I didn’t get much sleep last night with the new baby-
Andre: I KNOW, ‘Sexpresso’!! Like espresso, but WITH sex. We’ll just put the word ‘sex’ on the front of espresso! Get it? Sexpresso.
Davis: *Quietly* is the dumbest-
Charlie: … is brilliant, Andre! It’s so simple and perfect. I don’t know how I didn’t think of it myself!
Andre: Well you probably would have, eventually. It just came to me faster.
Davis: You know ‘espresso’ isn’t spelled with an X, right? Just to be clear?
Charlie: Sexpresso. It might be my new favorite word. I’m going to text my assistant right now and tell her to run out and get me a sexpresso with whipped cream.
Davis: I think that could be considered sexual harassment.
Charlie: We are on a roll, boys. What do we think for this shimmery pink color?
Davis: You seriously did not just say that.
Charlie: Too far, Andre. Too far. We want to leave something to the imagination. What about something with lingerie? Women like garters and nightgowns and stuff like that. It makes them feel sexy.
Davis: How about ‘Silk Teddy’? Do they still call it a ‘teddy’? I just wrote that word down and it looks wrong. Is a teddy a sexy thing? My wife only wears this really old pair of yoga pants and an XL tie-dye shirt I wore for Halloween one year to bed.
*Charlie and Andre pause for a second and stare at Davis with a mixture of pity and disgust.*
Charlie: Silk Teddy is good. I’m not sure how you got there with what you’re working with, but I think we should go with it.
Davis: The next one is a darker shimmery pink.
Andre: So… going along with the theme of sexy undergarments, what about ‘Push-Up’?
Charlie: Like the popsicles?
Andre: No, like the bra. I met this girl last weekend out at a bar and she had this amazing… *gestures with both hands near his chest* figure. But when I got her home and out of her clothes, there wasn’t nearly as much going on up top as I thought. She apparently had on one of those push-up bras. Women are really into them.
Davis: I’m not sure we want to evoke the image of an artifice women have constructed in an attempt to compensate for society’s male-driven unnatural expectations. Do women really feel sexy in a push-up bra?
Andre: Maybe you’re thinking about it the wrong way. Studies show women find other women’s bodies attractive and sexy, even if they’re not gay. The push-up bra makes them think of sexy cleavage.
Davis: What ‘studies’ are you citing here?
Andre: It’s a thing. I’m telling you. I go out a lot. Women are always getting handsy with each other.
Charlie: I feel like I might need more details on this situation from you, Andre. We should discuss it further over lunch. But I’m agreeing with you on the name. Push-up works. It’s hot.
Davis: *Sighs* The next one is dark brown with a gold sparkly undertone. ‘Erotica’?
Charlie and Andre: Yes!
Charlie: You nailed it. My wife just finished 50 Shades of Grey and let me tell you, I think my laptop might be starting to feel a little slighted because it’s not getting nearly as much attention late at night.
*Davis and Andre almost imperceptibly shudder.*
Davis: Let’s just get this done. This next one is also shimmery pink, but the sparkly grains are larger. It’s like a pink, glittery beach.
Charlie: How about ‘Nude Beach’? For our 25th anniversary, Janet and I went to Italy and I talked her into going to a nude beach with me-
Andre: *Desperately interrupting to make the story stop* But do women really find them sexy? I’ve heard nude beaches can be impractical, what with sand and crevices and things. Is that sexy?
Davis: *Exhausted, dejected and regretting life choices* I’m pretty sure, at this point you’re over-thinking it. It’s not the worst thing we could call it.
Charlie: I like it. Ok, so this gold one here. It’s a pretty sexy shade in and of itself. It needs a really good name.
Andre: It’s like a gold coin. Or a sunset over water. Or shiny honey.
Davis: “Shiny honey”? Where did you go to school again?
Charlie: ‘Honey Pot’. We’ll call it Honey Pot. That’s fantastic.
Davis: I just Urban Dictionaried that and it literally means ‘vagina’. Or ‘vulva’. You want to name the color of this eye shadow marketed to women after their own genitals; that’s what you’re saying here.
Charlie: Now who has a dirty mind? I just think it looks like honey, it’s in a little container, and another word for ‘container’ is ‘pot’. I think it’s inspired.
Davis: As long as it’s clear you get credit for that one directly, whatever you say, boss. Last, but not least, another dark brown. In a warmer tone.
Charlie: *Looking at his watch* It’s pretty close to lunch. Let’s wrap this up.
Andre: ‘Cocoa Puff’?
Davis: How is that sexy in any way? Isn’t it a cereal?
Andre: Charlie said lunch and I got hungry. I don’t know.
Charlie: It’s OK, not great, but let’s put a pin in it and rehash it later. Good work, boys. Home run on that ‘Sexpresso’, Andre. I see a bright future for you in this business. Let’s go get lunch and you can tell me more about this research you’ve been doing with the women and how they feel about other women’s bodies…