Struggling to come up with the perfect name for your baby? Tired of the usual roster of Jacks, Emilys, Harrys and Olivias? Then why not hire a company to craft a never-before-used name for your newborn. That's if you have £20,000 to spare, of course...
No, this is not a hoax (or if it is, it's a very elaborate one with a detailed website and a real-life CEO). Swiss company Erfolgswelle offers a custom baby name service that ensures your little treasure won't have to share their name with anyone else on the register.
When Erfolgswelle launched in 2003, it offered product and brand naming services to companies. But after witnessing a friend arguing with his partner about the name of their unborn child, CEO Marc Hauser decided it was time to branch out. As of 1 January 2015, Erfolgswelle is offering parents the chance to stump up €25,000 (£21,000) to ensure that their little darling's moniker has never been used before.
"Would you like to find a unique name for your unborn child?" asks the company's website. "A wonderful first name that sounds so good that it just had to be invented? A brand-new name with an exciting derivation and unmistakable history?"
You may well be thinking 'no, not really', and in fairness it's not like there's a shortage of existing baby names - in the UK alone, over 10,000 names for boys and girls were registered by the Office for National Statistics in 2013.
But Hauser assures potential customers that their investment will be money well spent. He has assembled a team of 13 experts in fields from history to etymology who will personally concoct the perfect name for each customer.
The team will consider every aspect of their handcrafted name, including the 'meaning and derivation of word components', 'harmony with last name' and 'historical and cultural background of the family'.
Erfolgswelle's specialists also go to great lengths to avoid any future embarrassment for the child - the team will check that their name has no negative connotations or innuendo in any of the world's 12 most popular languages.
And that's not the only practical measure in place. "The pronunciation and spelling need to be intuitive. If a person has to repeat his name four times on the phone and no one understands it, it is a failure," Hauser told Le Matin.
Because yes, after spending £20,000 on your darling's name, it would be a shame if no-one could actually pronounce it...
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