Have you shared a coke with someone yet? Or bought a bottle for a friend because it had their name on it? If you haven’t I think you might be in the minority. Most of my friends have been uploading pictures of coke bottles over the last few months and even more talking about it, the excitement of finding something with your name on it starts with pens in school trip gift shops and extends, it would seem, well into adulthood. I tip my hat to the marketing team behind this one – it’s pretty genius!
But there must have been so much more than an idea; I mean it’s easy to say ‘we’ll stick popular names on bottles and people will buy them!’, but how do you decide which names to choose? Then how many bottles of that name do you send to each shop? I’m certain, for example, that names popular in Paris differ from those which would fly off the shelves in Los Angeles. On a recent hunt through supermarket shelves hoping to buy a bottle for a particular friend I was introduced to names I hadn’t previously even heard of, names like Faisal and Amandeep, names I wouldn’t have even considered printing (would have been difficult really, as they were new to me!) let alone knowing where to send them. It must have been a mammoth task to research!
It struck me that your name used to say so much about you. It told people a lot about where you were from both geographically and in society and people were likely to judge you on it (or still do if you watch This Morning). Now in our multicultural society I know English Brandon’s, American Mohammed’s and a Thai girl called Mabel(!), and all these perfectly are normal.
But when I showed surprise at seeing names I didn’t recognise on coke bottles I was told it was wrong to say such things, as they are British names. Are they? I’m pretty sure their origins are from shores more distant than ours, just as my name is originally Greek! I know this, it’s a fact, so why is it ‘wrong’ to say?? If I were to survey Mohammed, Brandon and Mabel I’m sure they would be able to tell me where their names are from, likewise were I to meet an Amandeep (oddly I actually did today, but I think if I’d have launched into this topic she’d have thought me odd!) something tells me she wouldn’t say her name originated in Blighty! In fact when researching this the other day it was decided the most British name we could find was Edward, as it dates back to the stone ages and therefore the earliest known British history. Since then we’ve been conquered so many times that every name seems to have started in Greece or Germany or some other far off land. Saying my name isn’t British doesn’t offend me; political correctness gone mad!
So, what’s your name? And where do you come from? Or more specially where does your name come from? And at the end of the day does it make any difference to you in the slightest? Today you are you, that is truer than true, there is noone alive who is youer than you – no matter what you’re called!