Once upon a time, tv commercials were America's common language. They were catchy, they were inescapable, they were universal. In the glory days of network tv, you might not have watched the exact same shows as your neighbors, but you definitely knew not to squeeze the Charmin, asked "Where's the beef?," and could sing all the words to the "Meow Mix" cat food song. (Spoiler: they're all "meow.")
For the ultimate proof of the impact of vintage tv ads, I present baby names. Meet three names that became overnight phenomena thanks to the power of commercials.
In 1993, Hellmann's/Best Foods introduced a brand-new sandwich spread. It combined the tang of French-style Dijon mustard with Hellman's famous mayonnaise to produce a revolutionary creamy "Dijonnaise"TM.
In other words, it was mayo + mustard, for those who couldn't be bothered to use two different condiments. That might seem prosaic, but a genius of advertising thought to set the new product to the tune of Gene Chandler's doo wop classic "Duke of Earl." Di, Di, Di, Dijonnaise, Di Di...take a listen to the ad, and I dare you to keep the jingle out of your head. It certainly stuck in the head of American parents, who named 23 girls Dijonnaise in 1993.
Unusual, but not weird. Not trendy, but not outdated either. Easy to spell and pronounce, but not ordinary?
If that's your impossible baby name target, no worries, we've got you covered.
We've tracked down 16 boys' names that are familiar, usable, and perennially rare. So rare, in fact, that none of them has ever ranked among the top 300 names in America. Even the likes of Millard and Wilmer have managed to climb higher than that.
The rarity should make any of these names distinctive to your son wherever he goes. In fact, many of them stand out in sound as well as style, with few sound-alike names (think Aiden and Hayden, Jason and Mason). The familiarity, meanwhile, gives them an easy confidence. They should be recognized wherever they go, without too many raised eyebrows.
(And be sure to check out the rare-but-familiar girls' names, too.)
Photo: Getty Images
A brand-new year means brand-new baby name trends. Here are eight best bets for 2019 style. These names were all unusual last year, but their combination of fashionable sound and new, breakout star power has them poised to rise in the year ahead.
This energetic surname was left behind by the tradesman trend that sent names like Carter, Cooper, Tyler and Parker to the top. Thanks to Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, that should change in a hurry.
The name Kiki has always been a step apart from the likes of Mimi and Fifi. It has bold and creative associations, which actress KiKi Layne of If Beale Street Could Talk helps bring to the fore. Look for it to emerge as a fresh nickname option for almost any K name.
KiKi Layne, Baker Mayfield. Photos: Getty Images
"New Rules" singer Dua Lipa has such a catchy little name that many people assume it's a stage name. In fact, it comes from her family's Albanian heritage. Dua is an Albanian verb meaning "love."
Billie isn't a "new" name per se, but a 1920s-30s favorite that's been out of the picture for decades. Young singer-songwriter Billie Eilish should have more parents considering this name alongside rising hits like Charlie.
Zuri (M, F)
Zuri means "beautiful" in Kiswahili, and is traditionally a girl's name. Thanks to a male Zuri in the year's top movie Black Panther, it's now ready to rise for girls and boys alike.