Mind your language! Rude company names are out

A FREEDOM of information (FOI) request found that 56,640 business names were rejected by Companies House between January 2019 and April 2022.

Nearly half (25,400) were rejected on the grounds of containing a restricted or offensive word. They included “Forking Good Charcoal Grill”, “Lawnporn UK”, and “Doggy Style”.

A company name can be rejected because it already exists or contains a restricted word. Reference to royalty is one example — as it could suggest an association with a body or organisation that is protected under law. Over 1,400 business names that included “King”, “Queen” or “Royal” were rejected – examples include “Rooster Royal”, “Royal Peri Peri”, “Queen of Green”, “Queenie”, “Banterking” and “Alpaca Kings”.

Well Hung Meat Company logo
The Well Hung Meat Company didn’t incur the wrath of the Companies House censors. Image: Tania Conrad

Businesses need prior permission from the relevant government department to use a restricted word.

But a recent study of 2,000 consumers by small business insurance provider Simply Business — which submitted the FOI request — revealed that witty or funny business names can be beneficial. One third of respondents stated they’d be more likely to patronise a business with a funny or witty name.

Most said this is because the name is more memorable. Other key reasons include: it makes the business stand out (55 percent), hints at creativity (51 percent), or adds “personality” to the business (51 percent).

In June, Perky Blenders, a London-based specialty coffee roasters, beat over 1,500 punning-named small businesses to be presented with “Britain’s Best Small Business Name”.