What’s in a name?

I was thinking this morning about how the hardest part of writing the script of Ghostbusters would have been what exactly do you call them? What would an alternative name be?

I can’t see Bill Murray kicking open a door to reveal that everything was okay because we’re the Ghostkillers. Sounds like something 2pac would call himself.

Ghostsuckers sounds a bit blue, and Ghostgatherers sounds like a Stephen King novel.

Ghostjailers (weird), Ghostpolice (lame), Ghostfinders (passive) also run afoul in my head.

Indeed if I was writing the script I’d be like Jack Nicholson from the Shining. Instead of lines and lines of typing ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ I’d be writing lines ad nauseum of what you can call the name of collective that gets the ghosts.

To bust something is a pretty strange and lateral word association but in this case, it just seems to work.

I then got thinking, how did Dan Ackroyd come up with this name? Give a copywriter a month and I don’t think this would be a presented solution because it is so whacky and so bizarre but for some reason it just, well, works.

Then I did some research. Ghostbusters was the name of a live action children’s show in 1975, The Ghost Busters. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ghost_Busters

The team consisted of a couple of whacky characters as well as a gorilla who would then dispatch ghouls and spectres back to the afterlife. For some reason, the name seems to be a lot less lateral when applied to a 1970s Saturday  morning children’s show.

It seems when faced with a problem insurmountable, sometimes it’s just best to take an existing name. I also think that sometimes advertising should take a page from this practice. Sometimes creatives are so hellbent on doing things that have never been done before in the existence of mankind, that they discount the best solutions.

Earlier in the year, I worked on McDonald’s and used a tagline that was exceedingly close to a bookshop campaign that was used in South America.  A conversation was had with the ECD and we went back and forth as what an alternative line could be because there’s a line out there, somewhere that existed.

It amazed me that we had to find an alternative line that ultimately wasn’t as powerful or impactful in my humble view.  It’s not that I’m advocating out and out stealing (after all Colombia pictures paid to use the name) but sometimes when faced with a problem, sometimes shouldn’t you try for the best solution rather than one that hasn’t been done before?  Food for thought at least.

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