The Awesome Acronym

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a pretty stressful week.

And when you’ve had a stressful week the last thing you want to do is write a serious blog. It just adds to the stress. I’m all against stress, it usually leads to more cake than is strictly necessary.

So I didn’t write a serious blog.

Instead, this week’s blog tackles the serious problem of thinking before you name your society, or business, or … car.

Acronyms can be great…they shorten your organisation’s name, and if you are lucky they can be memorable. You want everyone to know what the acronym stands for and for it to be immediately recognisable, but in a good way.

Take WWF….you know it’s either pandas or old wrestlers…or possibly both. That’s the World Wide Fund for Nature or the now dead World Wrestling Federation. Here’s a nifty website to spot your favourite wrestler.

panda chewing bamboo

However… acronyms can go bad. Seriously bad. So bad they make you a laughing stock… even if they do say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity (obviously said by someone who’d just realised he’d made a massive mistake… yeah, I know it was Barnum….shhhhh).

They can be so funny they make us all laugh together. Take the Perpetual Motion Squad in series one of the Big Bang Theory, the quiz team extraordinaire… or PMS for short. Oh how we laughed.

One team that perhaps should have thought things through was the Formula 1 Hispania Racing Team… or HRT as they were known. Every circuit, HRT went racing round the track… but perhaps they needed the hormone injection to give their cars more oomph. By the end of the 2012 racing season they were looking for a buyer, and are no longer racing, which is a shame because the potential was there. What makes it worse? Could anything make it worse? On their website there is a little advert for their online store… “we are working to offer you the best HRT products”. How many women of a certain age ended up at the wrong website I wonder?

A major WTF moment was from the Tourism Federation of Wisconsin. In 2009, they decided a name change was in order after becoming the butt of the internet’s jokes. You can read about the kerfuffle here… bye-bye Wisconsin Tourism Federation. But I’ll bet the publicity did them no harm in the long-run.

However , I doubt anyone will laugh at The World Taekwondo Federation, even though they have the domain name!!

So, getting it wrong can be expensive… it involves new branding, advertising and probably a very thick skin when you have to admit you got it wrong.

But a silly acronym can be used to your advantage. It’s a shame I didn’t go to Edinburgh University… Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, the Auld Reekie Sailing Establishment (Edinburgh University Sailing Club Alumni), better known as ARSE.

And finally, it’s not just the odd acronym that can cause hilarity and grief in equal measure.  The Ford car company didn’t quite get it right when they launched their ‘Pinto’ car in Brazil, then discovered that in Brazilian Portuguese slang, ‘pinto’ means erm… ‘small man part’ (if you get my drift).

But that’s the start of a whole new blog. So as it’s Friday… here’s a little time-waster for you… a little site dedicated to unfortunate acronyms (although there are bound to be more out there).

4 Comments on “The Awesome Acronym

  1. Thank you for that brief waste of time! I always think on Harry Potter and Hermione’s Society for the Protection of Elvish Welfare! which of course was SPEW and much fun was made of it in book 2! I think!

  2. Serious time can be wasted inventing your own acronyms, too. Maybe we should start a hashtag on Twitter #UnlikelyAcronyms. Lol I wonder how many people would play?

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