“The best way to corner a niche is to create a niche.  And the best way to create a niche is to … coin your own word.” – Sam Horn

Encountered a couple of early entries for the 2012 POP! Hall of Fame … and thought I’d share them to kick-start your  thinking about what newly-coined  NURDS (New Words) you’d like to submit for this year’s contest.

Previous winners have included:

*  Diabesity:  Dr. Francine Kaufman’s term for the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes that is triggered by obesity.

*  Snuba:  It’s half snorkel and half scuba … and it’s a new multi-million dollar industry.

*  Freakonomincs:  Are you going to run right out and buy the latest tome on economics?  Probably not.  But authors Dubner and Levy turned their concept into an international brand – movies, media appearances, blogs, 6-figure consulting contracts – by giving it a first-of-its-kind name that appealed to the masses.

*  A.W. Shucks:  What else would you call an oyster bar in Charleston, SC?

*  Yappy Hour:  The Holiday Inn in Alexandria, VA has received millions of dollars of free press due to its innovative Friday night “petworking” opportunities for dogs.

*   YOUmanity:  Aviva came up with the ideal name for their “chain of kindness” philantrhopy campaign

*  Geek2Geek.com:  Think Match.com for pocket protector types.  As one personal ad proclaimed, “Tall, dork and handsome.”

*  SerenDestiny®:  Okay, I admit it, I’m partial to this one because it’s the title of my next book.  And like Tongue Fu!®, I’ve been able to trademark SerenDestiny® which means it can be merchandised and monetized … in perpetuity.

*  Java Jacket:  You can’t build a business around an un-prounounceable name.  So Jay Sorenson gave those “cardboard insulating sleeves” you put around your cup of coffee an easy-to-say-and-remember name.

*  Revenew:  Just met the founder of this start-up in NYC at the WOIS Summit.  You’ve heard of Spell Check?  This is a fantastic example of a POP! technique called Spell Chuck.  Chuck the normal spelling of a word and come up with your own.  Brilliant.

*Tiecoon:  This shop in NYC’s Penn Station – which sells neckties to Wall Street financiers – stopped me in my tracks and motivated me to snap a photo.  Which is the point.  If it’d been named Jack’s ties, I would have walked on by and not even noticed it.   Does your store name have people at hello?

Now, in case you’re thinking, “Okay, these are clever names.  Big whoop.”

Please understand … NURDS aren’t petty; they’re profitable.

This is not wordplay…this is wordcash.

ALL of these names have helped their products, businesses or services STAND OUT and get noticed, remembered … and rich.

Several of these names have generated millions in revenue for their owners.

In fact, as Jay Sorenson, originator of Java Jackets says, “Customers who meant to call my competitors actually end up calling me …because they can’t remember my competitors’ names.”

So, what first-of-its-kind business, book, product, store names have you seen this year?  What intriguing NURD popped out and got your attention?

Submit your entry by email to Sam@IntrigueAgency.com for the 2012 POP! Hall of Fame contest … and send a photo if you’d like. 

We’ll post the best NURDS 0n our blog and on our Facebook page. 

Winning entries who make the final Top 10 Winners in the 2012 POP! Hall of Fame get a free copy of POP!  … or your choice of any of our  books.

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One of my favorite things to do at the end of every year is to comprise Top Ten lists.

I created the POP! Hall of Fame to celebrate ideas, events, individuals and organizations that POP! out each year . . . for all the right reasons.

Previous winners include:

* Snuba (A new industry was created with this “had us at hello” name for a sport that’s half snorkel – half scuba )

* Yappy Hour (a first-of-its-kind pet-working opportunity for dogs and their owners helped this Holiday Inn in Alexandria, VA gererate buzz and profits )

* Weeding by Example (13-year old Jack McShane’s campaign to clean up New Orleans’ City Park following Katrina received national media attention because of its attention-grabbing, smile-inducing name)

* Diabesity (Dr. Francine Kaufman positioned herself as the go-to topic expert by naming this cultural phenomenon)

* Java Jacket (Jay Sorenson turned a “cardboard insulating sleeve” into a multi-million dollar business with this fun-to-say, easy-to-remember name)

What idea, brand, business name, marketing slogan, ad campaign or non-profit motto got your attention this year . . . for all the right reasons?

Submit your nominations here on the blog or directly to us at Sam@SamHorn.com by Dec. 21.

If your recommendation makes our list, you get an autographed copy of POP! And just for taking the time to submit a suggestion, we’ll send you the 2009 list when it’s ready.

If so, good for you. I'm a Duke not one of those -fur babies- It means you’ve got your finger on the pulse of POP! (pup?) culture.

You can’t pick up a newspaper without reading about “Bo,” the new resident of the White House and official “First Dog.”

A 4-14-09 USA Today article features CEO’s and their pooches with the sage advice from Plaxo’s Ben Golub to “Never work with someone whose dog isn’t overtly happy to see them when they come home, or vice versa.”

A new book “One Nation Under Dog” talks about the $17 bilion (yes that’s a b) we spend annually on our “fur babies.” A local church is packing them in with its “Paws in the Pews” service and a bar in Virginia hosts popular petworking opportunities at its monthly Yappy Hour.

What’s that mean for you? Big business if you can figure out how to capitalize on the 6 out of 10 households who own pets and are more than glad to patronize any business who invites them in.