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There are several ways of naming a company. Some brands use the actual names of the product that they sell, while others use the name of the inventor. But lately, a unique style of naming brands is popular in the corporate market. The concept of using analogies and metaphors to name a brand is quite a trend these days.

Although this is a creative concept, sometimes I wonder why companies name themselves to what they don’t actually sell. For example, famous brands like Apple and Orange don’t really sell fruits, but are still named that way. Now I don’t mean to ridicule this creative concept, because being a graphic designer, I realize that there is a deep theory behind the making of every brand identity. But just to give it a thought, in what cases is this concept of naming really successful?

Last time, I did a post listing horribly funny mistakes made by Famous Brands, which you guys really enjoyed reading. So, this time, I thought of 15 famous brands with names not related to the product or service that they deal in. Remember, this all is just for fun

 

1. Apple

I would certainly like to see Steve Jobs selling Apples online.
 

2. Blackberry

You wouldn’t want to eat your blackberry after giving it a charge, would you?

 

3. Camel

The only way this would have been possible if this cigar brand was owned by a sheikh.
 

4. Canon

Shooting pictures is okay, but talk about shooting with a canon. It reminds me of Pirates of the Caribbean.

 

5. Caterpillar

An industrial brand selling insects??? Who would buy a caterpillar anyway?
 

6. Diesel

Imagine you’re passing by and someone yells at you “Hey, you got Diesel on your shirt.”
 

7. Fox

Imagine this TV network selling foxes…they certainly don’t sell fox on TV these days.
 

8. Jaguar

I’m sure PETA would have sued them had they really been selling jaguars.
 

9. Kingfisher

Wait! Let me get this straight…do they sell beer or birds? I’m confused.
 

10. Lotus

The car doesn’t smell anything like a lotus…they would look better selling flowers with the name Lotus.

 

11. Mars

Sometimes I wonder…Is this chocolate bar really for Martians?
 

12. Orange

Imagine selling oranges over the phone…now that is something laughable.
 

13. Puma

If the Puma brand was actually selling pumas instead of apparel, it would’ve been illegal anyway.
 

14. Red bull

Neither do they sell a bull (of any color) nor do they own a cattle farm.
 

15. Shell

Hmmm I wonder…does Shell sell sea shells on the sea shore?
 
 

According to you, in what scenarios is this concept of naming brands really effective?

 

Author Charlie B. Johnson

has written Posts 388 .

  1. dominik On May 27th, 2011 at 9:01 am
    1

    Mars is a family name :)

  1. JAT Source On May 28th, 2011 at 1:23 am
    2

    ha ha ha ha ha ha……… never thought about it.

  1. bilig On May 28th, 2011 at 7:55 am
    3

    hahaha why u wanna buy Mars and Red bull? looooolz

  1. Erika On May 31st, 2011 at 1:33 am
    4

    hahah, this is funny!

  1. ambareesha On June 3rd, 2011 at 12:54 am
    5

    change kingfisher logo with this http://bit.ly/lAQnnI

  1. Haris Tahić On June 3rd, 2011 at 5:09 am
    6

    The best is Red Bull..

  1. ebswebd On June 4th, 2011 at 11:35 am
    7

    Its funny because its true!!!

  1. Ed in Calif On June 5th, 2011 at 9:23 pm
    8

    This is pretty lame. What company DOES sell something with a related name, What clothing line sells the brand name PANTS, (not Dockers) etc.

  1. Sanjay On June 6th, 2011 at 12:44 am
    9

    Very interesting …my view is that most of these brand names have been cleverly named and have a very strong reason for being named so – the brand personality and what the brand stands for is easily conveyed by these names …when we think of jaguar or puma we think ‘speed’ , when we think Red Bull we know we are talking of a lot of ‘energy’, Orange stands for bright and fun while Lotus is ‘sacred and a symbol of divine beauty’, A fox is a really ‘sharp’ animal while the same is true for kingfishers are bright and sharp-sighted hunter birds – Not sure though what Apple stands for, the fact that a bite has been taken, suggests it might have something to with our origin/evolution (Adam and eve etc etc)

  1. cherylopp On June 6th, 2011 at 5:32 am
    10

    I’m with Ed on this one. There are not too many brands that actually name themselves by the products they sell. Not many actually, and there are so many others that fit into this article >> Covergirl, Timberland, Ugg (LOL), Nike, . . . need I go on? So, what’s in a name? What you make of it as a brand. The brand goes much further than the name itself.

  1. Steve On June 6th, 2011 at 5:43 am
    11

    FYI, BlackBerry don’t sell BlackBerrys, RIM do. You shoot things with a cannon – canon relates to a piece of music. And to answer a question above, the bite taken out of the Apple logo is there purely so the letter ‘a’ in the original logo fitted nicely. Because the word “Apple” was dropped from the logo in 1984 people soon forgot about this bit. There is no symbolism. Google Rob Janoff if you want more info – he designed the original logo. And you missed “Coke” off the list. And “Wii”. And things like “baby oil” which just seems cruel.

  1. Stuart On June 6th, 2011 at 7:01 am
    12

    Not quite accurate. You are mixing companies with products.
    “Blackberry” is not a company it is a product. The company is Research in Motion.
    You had the right premise but your execution is flawed – unlike all these companies and their successful products!

  1. Sheri On June 6th, 2011 at 9:25 pm
    13

    Interesting article. I still remember asking what a Blackberry was when I heard people talking about it!

  1. Philip On June 6th, 2011 at 11:05 pm
    14

    I’m truly surprised that you didn’t mention Virgin

  1. Bryce Winter On June 7th, 2011 at 12:14 am
    15

    Goodness, what a lot of SOUR GRAPES! lol
    Fun article, and well put together. Thanks :-)

    To answer your question, I think this concept of naming brands is effective with products that are otherwise difficult to differentiate, i.e. crowded territory at the time–such as beverages, computers and oil companies. These concrete, grounded names suggest something visual immediately–something outside the domain of the niche or category–therefore immediately turning the viewers/customers/consumers minds to a fresh point of inspiration–most importantly a point of differentiation from the competition.

  1. Frank De Jomes On June 9th, 2011 at 8:33 am
    16

    At the beginning of 2010, I think it is necessary to give the public a clear guideline of the world famous sports shoes brand like Nike shoes and advanced technology. Besides, the swoosh logo as well as the popular slogan “just do it” make it one of a kind and gain a great amount of reputation.

  1. Richard Ball On June 10th, 2011 at 2:05 am
    17

    Who painted that poor red bull!!

    it’s very surprising how people relate more to products than the real thing!

    nice topic.

  1. Adam Booth On June 10th, 2011 at 3:00 am
    18

    Great post.

    There is something very interesting about the names the companies use.
    Why did a mobile phone company name its self after an orange?
    And how did Apple and Blackberry decide on those names too?
    In the case of brands such as Red Bull and Jaguar, this is all to reflect a brand identity and give off a message of power and speed and masculinity.
    And in the case of shell, they use fossil fuels which is the link to a shell.

    The whole subject of naming a company or product can seem random but there must be a reason behind it all. I presume it will mainly be due to the company wanting to create a certain brand identity.

  1. Edisright On June 15th, 2011 at 11:13 am
    19

    Isn’t it obvious that the company Caterpillar is related to the vehicle tracks being similar to the the mechanisms of a caterpillar body?

  1. Logo Design On June 15th, 2011 at 12:45 pm
    20

    Yes, it is often humorous how many famous brands often have a logo that has nothing to do with what they do. It seems to be just the uniqueness of the name is what gets them going.

  1. Beth On June 21st, 2011 at 4:58 pm
    21

    You can’t name your company after things you sell. The definition of a brand is how you distinguish it from another maker i.e. cars by jaguar, not jaguars by jaguar. To make your brand name effective it’s usually a clever metaphor for the attributes of your product. Perhaps I don’t understand what this article is about.

  1. Irfan S Chohdry On June 23rd, 2011 at 5:40 am
    22

    hahaha glad to see Apple, Orange, BlackBerry all around…

  1. James On October 18th, 2011 at 9:27 pm
    23

    This is kinda lame. Nice try though. Meh.


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