When brands sit down to name a product, there is a lot of planning and brainstorming that happens. There is a need for the product name to resonate with customers for them to buy it. But if there is case-study on what not to name a product, it is right here: a lesson in bad marketing.
John Lewis, a brand of high-end department stores operating in Britain, removed a children’s party dress after netizens called it out for having a bizarre name — ‘Lollita’. According to an Independent report, the department store stopped the sale of the kids’ party dress, which was made by clothing brand ‘Chi Chi London’ and sold on its website.
For the uninitiated, the reason the name is controversial is because it takes after Russian-American author Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita (1955), which dealt with the sexualisation of a minor. It is a story of a 12-year-old girl named ‘Dolores’ who is sexually-abused by her stepfather, who calls her ‘Lolita’.
If you were going to think of a name for a child’s party dress, what would you NOT call it? pic.twitter.com/yppG3Lgu3z
— Victoria Coren Mitchell (@VictoriaCoren) December 9, 2021
The dress in question is burgundy in colour with short lace sleeves and a flow that ends around the knee. Its screenshot started making rounds on social media when writer Victoria Coren Mitchell tweeted saying, “If you were going to think of a name for a child’s party dress, what would you NOT call it?”
Take a look at how people have reacted:
— Matthew Wheatley (@matt_sandbox) December 9, 2021
— Gary Shawcross (@garyshawxx) December 9, 2021
Really?! Cripes. Evidence, if we needed it, that people need to read more books.
— James Trapp (@jtlitteach) December 9, 2021
A simple Google search would have sufficed.
— Al Euphemism (@mraleuphemism) December 10, 2021
Per the Independent report, the dress was available for £50 (INR 5,024) for children aged three to 11 years old.