Ad campaigns don’t just popularize products — they also popularize baby names.
And ads for certain types of products (like perfumes) are much more likely to influence baby names than ads for other types of products. But nothing is off limits, really, if the exposure is wide enough and the product name looks/sounds enough like a human name (e.g., Corelle dishes, Finesse shampoo).
One type of product I never expected to find in my ongoing hunt for pop culture baby names, though, was bleaching creams — used to lighten/whiten/even-out skin tone.
These days, ads for bleaching creams ignite controversy. But decades ago, these ads ran regularly in magazines with African-American audiences, and, as a result, at least two bleaching cream brand names ended up on the baby name charts.
- 1964: unlisted
- 1963: unlisted
- 1962: 5 baby girls named Artra [debut]
- 1961: unlisted
- 1960: unlisted
The baby name Ambi, inspired by Ambi Skin Cream, stuck around a little longer — three years in the late ’70s and early ’80s:
- 1982: unlisted
- 1981: 12 baby girls named Ambi
- 1980: 6 baby girls named Ambi
- 1979: unlisted
- 1978: 5 baby girls named Ambi [debut]
- 1977: unlisted
…Another bleaching cream that was advertised during the ’60s and ’70s (as well as decades earlier) was Nadinola. The name Nadinola never appeared in the U.S. baby name data, but records reveal that it was given to a handful of U.S baby girls during the 20th century.
What are your thoughts on these names?