Thanks to Airmail for this:
They say picking out a name for your child reminds you of how many people you dislike. Try naming a yacht.
Not everyone with deep pockets finds inspiration easily. This is good news for Brandon Walder, the creative director of Ferras, a Viennese branding firm that dishes out yacht-name ideas to the .01 percent.
The service started in 2014, when one of Walder’s former clients, who had previously enlisted the firm on a real-estate branding project, tapped Ferras to help with a new undertaking: naming his yacht. Word about Ferras’s unique offering soon spread among family offices, yacht-interior designers, and brokers.
Today, Walder works on yacht-naming projects with two of his Ferras colleagues, Stefan Bauer and Suelie Somborn. Every year, a few (mostly European) clients use this service.
“We don’t name the yachts. We name the emotion the owner feels towards his yacht,” says Walder. “[There] can be very terrible and powerful waves in emotions, as well as in the sea, and it can be super-quiet and peaceful as well. In this range, we try to find out what our client is after.”
For centuries, sailors named their boats after deities in the hopes that they would protect their vessels. It’s a tradition that some, such as Laurene Powell Jobs (Venus) and Barry Diller (Eos), continue. But today names range from the personal (Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s Bravo Eugenia is named after his wife) to the mellifluous (Symphony, owned by Bernard Arnault, whose wife, Hélène, is a concert pianist), to the downright intimidating (Kosatka, Russian for “killer whale,” which is supposedly owned by Vladimir Putin).
Walder says his firm tries to “feel the vibes of the owner” and initially presents clients with existing yacht names to gauge their taste. “Slowly, we develop a shared understanding of what they’re after,” he explains.
While some owners of nameless yachts expect Ferras to offer hundreds of possibilities, Walder usually gives eight choices, because an excessive number of options “devaluates the names,” he says.
Walder declined to share how much the service costs and the names of his clients, though he did cite Giorgio Armani’s Main (“It’s a perfect name, and it’s very Armani”) and Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse (“It has a shadow, which gives it depth”) as two of his favorite super-yacht names.
Mark Elliott, a yacht broker, says a yacht’s name is particularly critical when it comes to chartering it to other multi-millionaire or billionaire seafarers. “I think it’s all about marketing, and when you market something that sounds fun, people will charter it more often,” he tells me. A yacht named Cookie Monster, whose owner is unknown, has been a notably popular choice for families, he explains.
Although Walder insists that yacht naming is a profitable venture, it’s not a common specialty. Nicola Mazzucchi, the founder of Studio Antagonist, an Italian creative-marketing firm, also set up a yacht-naming consultancy arm in 2020, capitalizing on his hobby of naming his friends’ boats. But, so far, Mazzucchi hasn’t had many customers. After all, only so many people buy yachts every year.
Yacht owners have plenty of dos, and even more don’ts, when it comes to picking a name.
According to Walder, it’s bad luck to rename a boat, or to opt for one that has seven letters, starts with an M, or ends with an a. The bravehearted can sail on a boat called Madonna. Walder will tend to the rest of the yacht-owning class.
Ferras Yacht Naming