Claud from the Renault Mégane advert, from carpages.co.uk
I’ve spent all day running up an down a Great Central Railway train giving out gifts with Santa Claus. That means I have now seen a small sample of what names the kind people of the East Midlands are giving to their offspring. Something someone mentioned to me was that they named their 10 week old daughter Nina because there are too many Clover adverts on the TV at the moment – something I never noticed myself. Clover is a brand of margarine here in the UK, and the recent We All Love Clover ad campaign was ripped to shreds by my peers for featuring people getting rather emotional about some margarine:
Their current advertising campaign is about the greatness of being in the middle. Despite this mother’s concerns, I still maintain Clover is a fantastic choice nevertheless. It’s also worth noting that the name of another brand of margarine here is called Flora.
So, we may hate them, but there’s always that occasional gem you need to look out for when it comes the adverts. Whilst the Clover advert doesn’t feature a named character, the product bears a name that a child could. It’s a thin line really between over and under exposure names get from companies desperate to flog their goods.
Therefore, it seems apt to look at a few adverts that have which all heavily feature a named character. Clearly, if Cadbury had named it’s characters, it would’ve easily taken a place on the list for its drumming gorilla and eyebrows adverts:
1. Adam and Jane (BT)
From the BT adverts we have Adam and Jane, alongside Jane’s children from a previous relationship, Joe and Lucy, and their new baby, Alfie. The main characters are acted out by a Kris and an Esther. The adverts have been following them now for several years, charting the development of their relationship and their use of BT services at the same time.
Whilst you may think that both name are reasonably well used, Jane has fallen down in recent years, now sitting below the 1000 mark:
Adam: #39, 2088 births
Jane: #1040, 32 births
Adam is the Hebrew word for man, whilst Jane ultimately comes from the same sources as John, meaning Yahweh is gracious. I still doubt that the BT adverts really have any effect over whether we use the names Adam and Jane any more or less - but the writers appeared to have picked up on current name trends by using Alfie for the newborn.
2. Alexandr (Compare The Market)
Comparethemeerkat.com has never been more popular. Fronted by the rather batty meerkat, Alexandr Orlov, he urges you to go the comparethemarket for cheap car insurance, not comparethemeerkat. Here in England&Wales, you’re more likely to meet an Alexander than a Alexandr:
Alexandr: #4678, 3 births
Alexander: #21, 3025 births
Really, using Alexandr may mean you get simples shouted at your little one, but there are two facts to consider:
- The majority of Alexandr’s (with whatever variation) tend to shorten their name.
- Alexandr could easily be mistaken for Alexander – it’s your choice to correct them.
3. Nigel (Government Anti-Piracy)
We’ve all been told, knock off Nigel buys knock off DVDs. This one, out of all of these, is probably well remembered given that it came in the form of a catchy song. We all love a catchy tune to hum, and that may be a hinderance to the name Nigel. That, and the fact that most see Nigel as a middle-aged name. Currently in England&Wales, the name is at:
Nigel: #1344, 18 births
The name Nigel is commonly associated with the Latin word niger, meaning black. It has also been linked with the name Neil, which either means champion or cloud.
4. Pablo (Frank)
I love David Mitchell, who voiced the rather cynical drug awareness advert for Frank: Pablo the Drug Mule dog. Particularly well-known amongst the younger generation, since David Mitchell’s core fan base is as such.
Pablo: #792, 32 births
Pablo is the Spanish form of Paul – which comes from Latin and can either mean small or humble.
5. Claud (Renault Mégane)
This acts as an additional name. In the shortened adverts which were the core ones shown his name is not given, but if you catch the long version, you do find out his name. It follows the pursuits of a frenchman, Claud, as he goes to Gisburn in Lancashire to discover why there is a correlation between fertility and the presence of Renault Méganes in a town. The really long version is quite amusing because of the stick the people of Gisburn give Claud.
‘Money can’t buy you happiness’…’but lack of money certainly causes misery’
Claude: #2629, 7 births (Claud does not rank)
This advert is certainly the least well known of the five, and I’m sure many of you have no idea what I’m talking about. That’s totally fine, even I’m not sure what I’m saying some of the time. My problem with Claud comes from his meaning: he’s a derivation of the Latin name Claudius which means crippled.