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Gadget or Porno? CES Edition!

usb dongles and vibratorEvery little company that comes looking for fortune and glory at each year's CES faces one primary task: memorable branding. Taking cues from the heavyweights, some might opt for a sleek neologism (like Microsoft), a symbolic portmanteau (Verizon), or even something familiar in the natural world (Apple). A bad name, though, can wreck a brand image from day one.

So, why would anyone opt for a name like iBallz? Did they think they were being funny? Sure, there's always the chance that your weird and genital-sounding product might stick in the consumer's head, but will it leave a positive impression? Conversely, why name your "sexual enhancement" company something as innocuous as MD Science Labs? In such a vast sea of gizmos and adult novelties, we suppose that names like these are bound to appear. After the break, check out our favorite inscrutable product and company names from both the Consumer Electronics Show and the Adult Entertainment Expo. (And, to be fair, this is no judgment on the value of the products themselves; some are actually quite good.) Are they selling gadgets? Porn? Both? What the hell were they thinking?

skunkjuiceSkunk Juice

Admittedly, Skunk Juice is a pretty great product. These magnetic earbuds allow up to four people to share their audio without a loss in the very decent sound quality. Even the look and style of the branding is fun, funky and youthful -- but why the gross and confounding name? "The Skunk Juice earbuds spread a potent mix of audio quality similar to a skunk but without the funky smell." That's kind of like saying, "My iSyphilis video player spreads viral hits like an STD, but without the pustular rash and brain infection!" Still, it's a name to remember.
thrustmaster

Thrustmaster

Maybe something got lost in the translation? The French Thrustmaster range of gaming accessories has been around for a while, but maybe nobody explained to the marketing team that 'Thrustmaster' sounds like a sex chair. "Honey, what are you up to this afternoon?" "Oh, I'm just going to pop down to the basement and hop into my Thrustmaster. I want to experience some high-speed intensity and ultimate force feedback." "..."

iballziBallz

iBallz are little ball(z) that fit on the corners of your iPad, protecting the screen from accidental drops. But the name! Hilarious? Almost as much as TruckNutz, we'd say. The company seems to realize that it's referencing testicles, which is just part of the iBallz allure. ("Does your iPad got the ballz?" the websites asks, while touting the fact that its product "provides superior handling.") The website even provides a "theme song" in the form of what we suppose could be called "rap" by... someone. "Have some ballz / get my ballz / save your iPad from a fall."

hyperjuiceHyperJuice

We suppose that almost anything with "[qualifier] + juice" will sound like a sex toy, or a bodybuilding supplement, or both. Produced by HyperMac (which has lately seen legal tussles with Apple over patent infringement), the HyperJuice batteries are actually a beauty to behold. Modern, colorful and aesthetically compatible with your MacBook Pro, the only thing that hinders HyperJuice products is an impossibly ejaculate-sounding name. They'd fit right in with the product lineup from MD Science Lab (below).

fanny wang headphonesFanny Wang

Listen: we're not trying to act like middle-schoolers, but we could hardly stifle the chuckles when we ran across a booth full of decently designed headphones with a massive banner reading FANNY WANG. We started to feel bad -- telling ourselves, "This poor Fanny Wang had to go through school with such a horrible name, and we shouldn't laugh at that." But then we saw the "ON EAR WANG'S" on the FW site, and we broke into stitches again. When we found out that Fanny Wang doesn't actually exist ("Is Fanny real? In our minds, yes. But she's best thought of as a sexy Betty Crocker," the company writes), we stopped feeling guilty.

findomFuture Media Corp

Wouldn't you assume that a company called Future Media Corp is maybe somehow interested in either the future or media? Perhaps it's in the app-making business, or it's a consultancy for print publications looking to make their way to the Web? Nah, the FMC has only one product to offer: the bizarrely portmanteau'd Findom, which is but a humble finger condom. Maybe they thought the company name would be some kind of pun on DIGITAL SEX? Badum! We'll be here all week.

ifriendsiFriends

"Oh, good! I thought I was going to find all sorts of crazy porno when I started scanning through my hubby's browser history, but it looks like he's just spending all of his time on iFriends, which I will just blindly assume is a social networking site because of its totally innocuous name. It seems that he's been meeting up with his old frat buddies on the 'College Students' section... I wonder if I've met any of these du--OH I'M GOING TO KILL THAT SONOFA--" What are friends for if not for providing the "largest adult webcam and live sex chat community," eh?

md science labMD Science Lab

MD Science Lab sounds totally innocuous, right? MDs talking about Science in a Lab -- they're probably trying to cure cancer with nanobots and tricorders. Or, they're utilizing their vast knowledge of medical science to create products like Max Hard and Ultimate Spanish Fly. We'd totally understand the generic and slightly authoritative-sounding company name if MDSL was aiming for the discerning consumer. But that scientific clout kind of flies out the window when you splash a pair of disembodied, licking red lips across your bottle of Yummy Cummy (a "flavor enhancer"), no?

asylum second skinAsylum Second Skin

"Hey, bro. I just totally ordered this SWEET case for my iPhone 4 called the Asylum Second Skin. Yeah, the package just showed up. Oh, this seems kind of big for an iPhone. I thought I ordered the Small/Medium version? Yeah, I searched for 'S/M skin' on the Google. I'm just reading the instructions now... it says I should slip this part over my face and mmmprhhmphrmmphrmmph."

Honorable Mention:

tv hatTV Hat

We just had to throw in the TV Hat, whose name doesn't sound remotely interesting to anyone. After appearing on just about every "Worst of CES" list last year, TV Hat pulled up stakes and moved over to AEE. Originally designed for TV sloths who have somehow been coerced/forklifted out into public, TV Hat now says that its ridiculous, long-billed headgear is "the ultimate, intimate private viewing device for Adult content." So, in case you had any doubt, the next time you see a creepy dude wearing one of these on the subway, just know that he's watching 'Chitty Chitty Gang Bang' instead of 'Lost.' Gah-ross.

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