There is a nasty rumour going around that foreign direct investment in Nepal has fallen drastically because of corruption. That slur doesn’t even deserve a rebuttal. The real reason no one is investing is because we have run out of brand names for new products.
Even though the government is in denial, this is a crisis of nationalistic proportions. If we can’t come up with new brand names ASAP then I’m afraid this country is doomed. Which investor in his or her right mind would want to come to a country where there is such a dearth of trade marks?
Take Mt Everest, for instance. It’s over-saturated, everyone and their grandmother has named their product after the mountain. Mt Everest Steel Rods, Mt Everest Cement, Mt Everest Gin (Motto: ‘Get High With Us’), Mt Everest Ghee Udyog, Mt Everest Prawn Crackers, Mt Everest Helicopter & Hospital (Slogan: ‘Regular non-stop flights from Base Camp to Rooftop Helipad even if you are hale and hearty.’)
So, if you are thinking of getting into the instant noodle business, naming it Mt Everest Noodles is out of the question. Besides, the Ministry of Taxes and Taxonomy has just mandated that all instant noodle brands in this country must compulsorily have names consisting of one monosyllabic word repeated twice, like Wai-Wai or Ra-Ra. But potential investors need not feel restricted. There are oodles of noodles names still available and they come with ready-to-use mottos: Meow-Meow (‘Even your cat will love it!’), Ha-Ha (‘Probably the world’s funniest noodles’), or Ba-Ba (‘The favourite noodles of the black sheep in every family’).
Another highly popular brand name is Sherpa, not just in Nepal but also abroad. In Nepal we already have Sherpa pick-up trucks, Sherpa health soaps, Sherpa brand muesli, and internationally there are Sherpa 100 Volt Portable Power Banks, Sherpa Venture Capital, and even Sherpa Supreme Court nominees in the US
My friend Tashi Jangbu says no one asked him if they could borrow his surname, and he intends to sue them through the solicitor’s firm, Sherpa, Sherpa & Sherpa. Since Nepal is a multi-ethnic country, this opens up a whole new arena of nomenclature for the manufacturing and service industries: Chhetri brand ketchup, Rai Rye 86% proof, Tharu brand photocopy paper, Bahun Pure Mustard Oil, Lama Vegetarian Momo and Fastfood Franchise, KC’s AC-DC Adapters, and Gachhedar Flip-flops.
For new domestic airline operators, the field is wide open because if we can have Buddha Air, we have the whole pantheon. Hanuman Air Lines (Starting Direct Flights to Lanka Soon), or Pushpak Biman which offers in-flight Bow-Wow noodles (‘What’s good for your dog is good for you.’)