You’ve probably heard about the blunder made by local brewer Manhattan Project when they named a beer Bikini Atoll. Laray Polk wrote a quick FrontBurner post for us last month, explaining why the name was ill-considered. Then she went deep with a longer, more researched piece for the Asia-Pacific Journal. A bit of it:
Two months after the U.S. detonation of the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll, the Marshallese people sent a petition to the UN: “We, the Marshallese people feel that we must follow the dictates of our consciences to bring forth this urgent plea to the United Nations.” The lethal effects of the Bravo test, the petition explains, “have already touched the inhabitants of two of the atolls in the Marshalls, namely, Rongelap and Uterik, who are now suffering in various degrees from ‘lowering of the blood count,’ burns, nausea and the falling off of hair from the head, and whose complete recovery no one can promise with any certainty.”
Is that what you want to think about when you’re drinking a beer? Burns, nausea, and the falling off of hair from the head?
There was a boutique in Dallas called Gypsy Wagon that changed its name last year to Favor the Kind so as not to offend. For me, it was an overreaction. But, then, I’m not a Rom, so the only thing I know is that when they changed their business name, they got a fair amount of publicity.
Manhattan Project started off on shaky footing with their brewery name. Sticking to the nuclear nomenclature presents obvious challenges. Surely, though, they could rename this one beer and generate both publicity and goodwill.