Branding Hot Sauces: Coming Up With Eye-Catching Names

LAFAYETTE, LA (AP) — The seasoning and hot sauce market has long been saturated with competition. Who hasn't heard of Tabasco Pepper Sauce and Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning?

         That's why many who introduce a new product line must resort to eye-catching names to convince customers to give them a shot.

         Between hot sauces and seasoning blends, you'll find brand names such as Pucker Butt, Tom's Roid-Rippin' Hot Sauce, Camel Toe Hot Sauce, Frog Bone Hot Sauce, Pure Evil and Slap Ya Mama.

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         Here are a few stories behind the names.

         Ed Currie recognizes and tells some pretty good stories. That's how he ended up naming his business the Pucker Butt Pepper Company.

         While driving his wife and her friends to an event, one of the women said that Currie's hot sauces made her butt pucker.

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         Laughter roared through the vehicle as the woman talked about her butt puckering, especially when she pulled her skirt up to try to demonstrate what she meant.

         "And that was it," Currie said. "Everybody smiles and laughs when they hear the name. Even if they don't like hot sauce, they'll buy it for the name."

         The name has certainly transformed the South Carolina-based business into an international hot sauce company that boasts a seed-to-table approach.

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         "Literally three-and-a-half years ago I was working at a bank," he says.

         Currie has since developed attention-grabbing names for different varieties of his products, such as I Dare You Stupit and Linda's PMS.

         The story behind Linda's PMS is the same story of how Currie began dating the woman who would one day become his wife.

         "I met this woman who wanted nothing to do with me," he recalls. "She called me a funny little man and told a friend that I didn't have a chance in hell with her."

         But Currie overheard Linda telling a friend one day that she could never find good, fresh salsa anymore. That's when Currie, who was a seasoned hot sauce maker at this point, tried his hand at a fresh peach-mango salsa made from ingredients he was growing in his yard.

         "Nine months later we got married," he said.

         The PMS in the name is an acronym for peach-mango salsa.

         Keith Jenkins says that the name of his line of products — Frog Bone — is the reason so many people visit his booth at food events.

         "People just have to figure out if frog bones are involved in the sauce," Jenkins says. "This started as a hobby and now I'm full time, seven days a week at this."

         Frog bones are not involved in the sauce, if you're wondering.

         The frog portion of the brand name comes from Jenkins' hometown of Madisonville, where two frogs decorated the sign of a favorite spot known as the Knee-Deep Bar.

         The bone portion of the name comes from Jenkins' brother, Travis, whose childhood nickname was T-Bone.

         "Our name means a lot," Jenkins says. "The name stands out and represents south Louisiana. It's perfect for what we are. Our name is getting out there."

         Jenkins began creating Cajun barbecue sauces to dip alligator bites in while working in the restaurant industry.

         He began crafting other sauces and seasoning, eventually entering and placing in competitions before he turned the Madisonville-based operation into a full-time business.

         But he knows it's something he couldn't do without the name backing him up.

         "The name has to stick out," he says. "Marketing and the logo are everything."

         It's hard to find a seasoning blend or hot sauce that has a more grabbing name than Slap Ya Mama.

         And although the Ville Platte-based company has been criticized by a few for the name, Jack Walker, the vice president of marketing, says far more people have embraced it.

         "People are always interested in the name and how we came across it," Walker says. "Very rarely do we have people who get offended by the name, and when they do, we share the story with them."

         The name comes from a dish his father Tony Walker cooked all the time when Jack was growing up that the family called the world-famous, slap-ya-mama atomic potatoes with sausage.

         While trying to decide on names for the family's seasoning blend, nothing stuck out until somebody suggested Slap Ya Mama.

         "We were a little skeptical of naming a seasoning that, but our mama said, 'No, you have to name it that,'" Jack Walker said. "We stuck with the name through the skepticism, and it's worked very well for us. It's really helped to bring attention to our product."

         Not all of the attention has been positive, like when the NFL pulled Slap Ya Mama advertisements last year from the New Orleans Saints games in light of domestic violence issues facing the league.

         Jack and his brother Joe travel across the country to promote the seasoning company, which can be found in all 50 states, Canada, Australia, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

         "Slap Ya Mama as a brand is important to us," Jack Walker said. "It conveys to the customer who we are. We're fun loving and demonstrate that not everything has to be so serious."

         – by AP/ Reporter Megan Wyatt with The Advertiser

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