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How to create great words like Sharktopus, Slide:ology and the Vacula 2000

August 7, 2012

In my last post I shared how while driving to school, my 8-year-old son Orlando and I played some creativity games “riffing” on the word Vampire. We went through the alphabet and came up with a new creation – a blood-sucking pig called a Ham-pire.

We both love how  “cool dad” Phil Dunphy from Modern Family makes up fun words and expressions.

Orlando loved the alphabet word creating game so much from the drive to school – he wants to play it again on the drive home. We both know it’ll be so hard to top Ham-pire 🙂

Orlando is still in a “vampire” mood so we decide to have fun with the word DRACULA. So we go through the alphabet. The aim is to come up with new words and what they can describe.

He  gets to the letter B and comes up with Blacula and I explain that Blacula has already been used for a blaxploitation movie. Now there’s another great example of word play black + exploitation = blaxploitation. We are talking about movies here. It is a real term!

Orlando gets excited as we move on through the alphabet:

Dad, what do you call someone who is really clever and evil and who sucks all your secret information from your computer?


Answer: Hack-ula!

“Very good” I tell him – I’m genuinely amused. Probably some geeky hacker wanting to sound tough is already using it – but I’m impressed at my son’s creation.

Then, the best of all – an idea that could make us both a fortune.

I get so excited Phil Dunphy style at the prospect of changing the world with a cool new invention and at the idea of us becoming Phill-ionaires!

The concept (Orlando’s creation) is something that will be a hit with parents. Something so cool that kids will want to clean around the house –  just so they can use an awesome cleaning machine called – wait for it – the Vac-ula.

He describes the design – Black and red with bats on it. He wants to call it the Vacula 2000 (inspired by the Nimbus 2000 from Harry Potter)

I high-five his creativity. The Vacula 2000!

“Wow and who would be your target market? Who would buy it?” I ask.

Orlando pauses for a while and announces – Vampires!


…and cool kids and cool dads like Luke and Phil!


Better go trademark that name straight away – The Vacula 2000. The vampire market is booming these days! 🙂

My internet search reveals that there is a surname Vacula and bloggers with that surname – but to my knowledge there is no vacuum cleaner for Vampires called the Vacula 2000!

Business examples of word creations

Seriously ‘though  – playing with words and creating your own expressions can boost your business.  It can help you carve out your niche market and describe what you offer in a unique way.

I’ve mentioned before that I am a big fan of Sam Horn who has scores of real-life examples of how creative wordplay can be good for business.

This link will show you lots of great examples of creative word play – like snuba (part snorkel -part scuba) and a tie shop called Tie-coon.


She has a wealth of cool examples on youtube and I recommend you check them out. – like this example here about coining a term by combining 2 words – and I’m not talking shark + octopus = Sharktopus (one of Phil’s favourite movies). We’ll save the genius of Sharktopus for later!

I’m talking – diabetes + obesity = diabesity.

Puns and word play will delight some people – and irritate others. Whether people love them or hate them – expressions like diabesity are memorable and will often get media attention.

Another example: Nancy Duarte is a very respected design expert and she designed the slides for Al Gore’s award-winning movie An Inconvenient Truth.

One her books outlined her ideology about good design for presentation slides.

So how can ideology and slide fit together?

Ideology  + Slide


Shuffle the words around – glue them where there are letters in common or sounds that go well together  – and the result.

Slide:ology.   From the way it’s designed with the :  you can see the ideology in the word but it looks like it’s pronounced Slide-ology.

It looks good. It sounds good. It’s distinctive and describes what it’s about in one word!

As my son would say (borrowing from the movie Super 8) “That’s mint!”

Ok, back to Sharktopus. Let’s study the genius.

A creature that is Part Octopus  – Part Shark.

It could have been Octoshark – but Sharktopus sounds better. Why?

Say the words out loud. What sound do they have in common – the common areas to glue the words together?

OCtopus    Shark – it’s the K sound.

I know there are 2 S’s but OctopuShark doesn’t sound as punchy to me.

But SharKtopus sounds perfect to me – as lean and mean as the mutant creature it describes!

Plus  – you start with what in my opinion is the main selling point and the scariest part – the Shark!

So, if you are out shopping and you see  a video of Sharktopus or a book called Slide:ology or a Vacula 2000 – remember how wordplay created the catchy title!

To contact the creative team of:

Tony and Orlando Biancotti – Brisbane, Australia

0409-821 186


twitter: @tonybiancotti


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  1. Thanks for the post, Tony!

    • Hi Nancy, My pleasure. I love your work and Garr Reynold’s work. I use an analogy here – You are both “superheroes” in the presenting field in my opinion and it’s like finding out that two superheroes you admire are friends – like the Avengers!

      One of my favourite books of yours is Resonate – in particular the story about your grandmother’s tea cup. That story really resonated with me!

      Your good work reaches around the world.



    • Sorry Nancy, I thought my reply was private to you. Still, I’m not afraid to declare my respect and appreciation.
      I really encourage anyone reading these comments to read Resonate and Slide:ology and Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen!
      I also encourage people to watch Nancy and Garr on youtube! Well worth the time.

  2. Reblogged this on efangelist and commented:

    An earlier post!

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