Studies show the average American will spend the equivalent of nine years of their life watching television, including commercials! Even if you’ve never owned a television in your life, chances are you’ve seen more commercials than you’d think, between electronic billboards, radios, the internet and even movie theaters.
We’ve pulled together a list of names from TV commercials that are perfect for anyone ready to create their own “baby brand.” How many of these names do you remember?
Calli – Known colloquially as the “Orange Fanta,” Calli is one of four Fantanas, the so-called “spokesmodels” of Fanta sodas. The name Callie originates from Greece, and fittingly, means “beautiful.” Fanta or Fantana would also be a lovely name!
Charlie – Currently a popular gender-neutral name, this moniker belongs to Charlie the Tuna, the remarkable talking fish first seen in Starkist tuna ads in 1961. It’s short for Charles, a name of English origin meaning “free man.” Their catchline: Sorry, Charlie! as for some reason he wanted to be caught to be labeled a Starkist tuna, but he didn’t make the cut.
Clara – Perhaps most well-known in the commercial world for being the voice of the Wendy’s fast food restaurant redhead, Clara Peller was a young 81 when she spoke the iconic tagline, “Where’s the beef?” With origins in Latin, Clara means “illustrious,” and has the same roots of the French name Claire.
Dean – Mayhem is everywhere, including the popular Allstate Insurance commercials starring handsome but destructive actor Dean Winters, who’s also famous for shows like Law and Order: Special Victims Unit and Brooklyn 99. Dean is English, meaning from the valley. Just to be clear, we would not recommend calling a child Mayhem!
Dilly – Famous for having infamous commercials, Bud Light makes the list with their 2017 catchphrase, toast “Dilly, dilly!” Used in a sentence, the word dilly means excellent example and makes a charming gender neutral name. Originating in Welsh, its meaning as a name is “great sea.” Bud has also been used as a name, but mostly a nickname for the name or nickname in itself, Buddy.
Elsie – The lovable bovine mascot from Borden Dairy’s commercials, Elsie is a perfect name for a sweet bundle being delivered your way. German in origin, the name was originally a diminutive of Elizabeth, which means “God is my oath.”
Harland – The first name of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s original Colonel Sanders, Harland has English origins and a few interpretations, including “stirs up trouble” and “dweller by the boundary wood.”
Jake – While your little Jake may be wearing colorfully coordinated outfits to play in the park, there’s another popular Jake who wears khakis and works in a cubicle for State Farm Insurance. It’s a short form of Jacob, which means “Supplanter.”
Joe – Who can forget pathological liar “Joe Isuzu,” the fictional character in car maker Isuzu’s commercials? Usually short for Josephine or Joseph, meaning “God will increase,” Joe may also be spelled Jo for a twist on the traditional.
Juan – Representing the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, Juan Valdez has come a long way since his cartoon origin in 1958. Juan is Spanish in origin, meaning “God is gracious.
MacKenzie – Bud Light beer makes the list again, having given the world a dog named Spuds MacKenzie as their furry mascot. Gender neutral MacKenzie is Scottish in origin, and means “Son or Family of Coinneach,” a personal name meaning “comely.” Spuds is a great name for a dog – but we wouldn’t recommend it for a human baby.
Mikey – Mikey likes it! Kids from the 70s and 80s may remember Mikey from the Life Cereal commercials by Quaker Oats. Short for Michael or Michaela it’s a strong gender-neutral name with English origins meaning “Who is like God?” That means “Who could equal God’s Goodness?” and should always be stated as a question.
Mrs. Olson – Simply known as Mrs. Olson, she was a well-known figure in the Folger’s Coffee commercials of the 1960s and ‘70s. While Mrs. Olson doesn’t have a documented first name, Olson is a Scandinavian surname meaning “Son of Olaf.”
Rosie – You may first think of Rosie the Riveter, a campaign that arose during World War II, promoting women in the workforce. Some may also remember Rosie the Waitress from Bounty Paper Towels commercials, played by veteran character actress, Nancy Walker. A Rosie by any other name – like Rose — is English, meaning rose flower.
Sam – Known in commercials as Toucan Sam, the bird selling Kelloggs’ colorful Froot Loops breakfast cereal, Sam can be short for the Hebrew names Samson or Samuel, meaning service or sun and his name is God, respectively, or for a longer feminine name, Samantha.
Sonny – Sonny the Cuckoo Bird was always “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs” and if you choose this name you’ll go cuckoo for Sonny every time your little one takes a step. Sonny is a name with American origins, and means – no surprise here — our son.
Tony – This name is “Grrrrrreat!” according to Kelloggs’ Frosted Flakes upbeat mascot, Tony the Tiger. Short for Anthony or Antony, Tony is Latin in origin, with unknown meaning.
Walker – Top shelf elf Ernie Keebler of Keebler cookies was voiced by seasoned voice actor Walker Edmiston, who is credited in over 45 acting projects. Walker as a first name originated as an English occupational surname, meaning “fuller of cloth.” Keebler would be a great pet name, too!
With so many iconic commercials to choose from, you may find your baby’s name on this list. But if you need extra insurance you’ve found the perfect moniker, try moving forward with Flo, short for Florence, the Progressive Insurance lady.
Need more inspiration? The Geico Gecko’s first name is Martin … and we’ll be right back after this message.
Kellie Flanagan (she/her) is a writer and producer for print, broadcast and web, with credits in all media. Kellie has written and directed for major television and cable networks television shows including The Wild West, A&E’s Biography and The Civil War Journal.
As a child actor Kellie had a lead role on The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, and appeared in the original Star Trek, The Andy Griffith Show, and the cult classic film Wild In The Streets. Kellie is currently a staff writer at the Mariposa Gazette.
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