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More Band Names, and While I’m on the Subject of Names, Why Name Your Bank After a Weight Loss Aid that May Cause Uncontrolled Expulsion of Unmentionable Nether Stuff?

April 5, 2010

Ally® the bank and Alli® (no more ® for them in this post) the weight loss product are homonyms. Alli weight loss product appeared first, at least in any advertising I’ve heard, and now, every time I hear Ally the bank’s ad, all I can think of are the unfortunate aftereffects of eating fatty foods while you are taking Alli. Good times.

Names matter and I question the wisdom of naming a bank Ally. I’m aware that the name might have been chosen to indicate that the bank is on the side of its customers. I’m pretty sure that they didn’t actually name it after the other product. Still, one does wonder, thus I Google® the question, “Why did Ally Bank choose its name?” figuring I might find out. And I did find out that it was previously GMAC Bank, associated with a parent company, GMAC Financial, that used to be associated with General Motors, and that the name change is an attempt to distance itself from association with distressed auto and financial companies.

Okay. I get that. But why Ally? Did they order business cards and letterhead without talking about their choice? Were they hoping to inspire confidence with this word that brings to mind war and the defection of allies as the conflict persists? Ally. I’m no more confident about a bank that names itself after a word that can be a either verb or noun than I am about a financial institution that’s named The Bank of Jim. There’s lots more that you can read about if you do your own Googling®, and I make no judgment at all about the reliability of this bank or any other no matter what its name (or any weight loss product, either). I’m just a wordish person interested in wordish choices. I also remind you to beware of unfortunate acronyms–you can find lots of them online, including a collection at a blog called “Acronyms Sometimes Suck,” a name that is a deliberately unfortunate choice.

And thus, I also remain fascinated by band names. Here are a few more from March 12-18, 2010’s LA Weekly. My very favorite thing in this issue is an event that is not likely to come to the small town where I live, The Evisceration Plague Tour with Cannibal Corpse, Skeletonwitch and Lecherous Nocturne. There are other bands listed elsewhere in the Weekly that should consider applying to join this creepy throng. I offer their names here:

Primal Fear. Infernal Damnation. Surfer Blood.
Made in Chernobyl
and The Devil Makes Three.
Smile Empty Soul.

The Black Widows. Auto Da Fe. Internal Corrosion.
Kill the Playground. Sick Life. Bury Your Dead.

Cactus Chainsaw and Saturn Grenade.
And, of course, The Dred Crew of Oddwood should join in.

There are more, so many more, on the eight-plus pages of notebook paper I filled on the long drive from LA north to Oregon. I’ll inflict them on you in the days to come.

If you were thinking of joining the Evisceration Plague Tour, what would you name your band? I might be Donnerbones or Lizzie B and the Axes. Or maybe I’d just be Alli. Oh, the horror!

These, Tom, are the Causeheads. They find a world-threatenning issue and stick with it for about a week.
P.C.U. (1994)

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