Adilene isn’t the only ’80s baby name that has me stumped. The baby name Marquita became popular suddenly in 1983, and I have absolutely no idea why.
In 1983, thousands of baby girls were suddenly given the name Marquita (or a variant thereof):
Marquita was out of the top 1,000 again by the mid-1990s.
The spike seems to have been centered in the South. The states with the most babies named Marquita in 1983 were…
- Georgia – 218 babies named Marquita
- Texas – 195 babies named Marquita
- North Carolina – 176 babies named Marquita
- Mississippi – 170 babies named Marquita
- Louisiana – 168 babies named Marquita
- Florida – 162 babies named Marquita
- Illinois – 161 babies named Marquita
- Alabama – 145 babies named Marquita
- California – 123 babies named Marquita
- Virginia – 112 babies named Marquita
Update, 7/25/2021: Commenter Marquitta I. has solved the mystery! (Thank you so much!)
The sudden interest in the baby name Marquita was sparked by a TV commercial for Close-Up toothpaste. The commercial features (actors playing) a young African-American couple named Marquita (pronounced mahr-KEE-tah) and Chris.
They spend the 30 seconds talking about one another (and the toothpaste, of course) so viewers hear Chris say Marquita’s name several times: “When I hold Marquita, it really warms me up.” “Marquita’s teeth are white, straight, and make her smile beautiful.” “When I kiss Marquita, it tastes fresh.”
Here’s the commercial: