Secret meanings behind the world's most popular brand names

Secret meanings behind the world's most popular brand names

We all know how a can of Coca-Cola looks like by heart, and everyone can tell a Starbucks store from a distance away. It is no wonder why brands like Coke, Oreo and Nike are some of the world's most recognisable and popular brand names.

However, did you know that Coca-Cola was actually invented as a medicine? Or that Canon was named after the Japanese Buddhist Goddess of Mercy?

Here are some little-known facts about the world's most familiar brands.

How the world's most popular brands started

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    According Secret Formula, a book written by reporter Frederick Allen, the world's most famous soft drink was named after two of its ingredients - the coca leaf and the kola nut.

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    The earliest purpose of the drink was actually medicinal, marketed as a cure for 'nervous prostration, irregularities of the stomach, bowels and kidneys'.

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    It was created by pharmacist John Pemberton, who was seeking to cure his own addiction to morphine.Pemberton's business partner, later named the drink Coca-Cola and wrote its name for the bottles and advertisements in the now famous cursive script.

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    The business was later bought and Coca-Cola was first sold in bottles in 1894. While it used to contain trace amounts of cocaine, it has been cocaine-free since 1929.

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    Although the origin of the word Oreo is unknown, there are many theories about how it was derived.

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    One theory is that it was derived from the French word 'Or', which means gold as the earlier packaging for Oreos were gold.

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    Nabisco registered the Oreo trademark in 1913, with a few name changes along the way from Oreo biscuit, to Oreo sandwich, to Oreo cream sandwich, and Oreo chocolate sandwich cookie in 1975.

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    Nike is a Greek goddess of victory. The sporting apparel company was called Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964 when it was first founded.The name was changed to Nike after an employee dreamed of the goddess one night.

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    The Starbucks logo has been changed many times throughout the years, with the most recent one omitting words completely for the first time.

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    The Starbucks logo has been changed many times throughout the years, with the most recent one omitting words completely for the first time. When it first started, the coffee chain was named Starbucks because one of the founders, Gordon Bowker, heard that words which began with 'st' sounded more powerful than other words.

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    In 1928, 7-Eleven was known as Tote'm Stores, named after the way customers

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    Google's name originated from the word 'googol', which is a number made up of the digit 1 followed by 100 zeroes.

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    The search engine was started by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who wanted to call it BackRub at the start. One day, a colleague suggested using the name 'googolplex', and Page shortened this to 'googol'. When the colleague tried to search for the domain name on the Internet, he misspelled it as Google. Page and Brin then decided to register the accidental name for their search engine.

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    Founder Jeff Bezos was met with opposition from his lawyer when he came up with Cadabra as the name for his retail website. Jeff Bezos initially called his online-retail company Cadabra (as in abracadabra). That sounded good until he called his lawyer to announce the name.

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    The ice-cream's foreign name may give hint of an exotic European origin but it is in fact, an American ice-cream founded by Reuben and Rose Mattus in the Bronx, New York. While the name has no real meaning, its originators were hoping 'to convey an aura of the old-world traditions and craftsmanship'

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    In 1933, Canon was known as Precision Optical Instruments Laboratory. In early 1930s, the company produced a camera called the Kwanon, which was the prototype for Japan’s first-ever 35 mm camera with a focal plane based shutter.

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    Kwanon was a named derived from the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy as it 'embodied the Company's vision of creating the best cameras in the world'. Hence, in the same year, the company trademark was officially registered as Canon.

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    This cult clothing company which has become one of Asia's most prestigious street wear brands was founded by designer Nigo in 1993.

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    The name was derived from a Japanese saying: 'A bathing ape in lukewarm water', which refers to people who have become too complacent and over indulgent. Nigo chose this name as he felt it described the younger generation, which he found was spoiled, pampered and too complacent. Ironically, this is the same generation of people the brand is most popular with.

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    Originally called Stat.us, Twitter's founder Jack Dorsey felt like the name did not capture enough of what the product was about. His team was only satisfied when they found the word 'twitter' in the dictionary with the definition: 'a short burst of inconsequential information,' and 'chirps from birds'.

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    The South Korean conglomerate was named LG as it was formed via a merger of two brands Lucky and Goldstar.

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