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Interesting facts about 10 famous brands – Surprising truths!

Famous brands are not built in a day. They take years of hard-line marketing and promotional efforts to build. The cost of branding famous brands reflects the amount of work included in establishing a corporate name. There is always a certain history attached to prominent brands.

A few months back, I did a post on interesting facts about graphic design, where I shared 15 fun facts related to the world of graphic design. As my readers enjoyed learning about those unknown facts, I decided to come up with something similar today.
It is always fascinating to discover what your favorite brands were in the past. For example, how would you feel knowing that Coca Cola, the beverage you consume the most, was once called “coca wine”, sold as a medicine?

Following are 10 fascinating brand stories that are attached to famous brands.


1. Apple – The inspiration:

In 1976 Steve Jobs was working in a community type farm in Oregon which inspired him to name the company Apple Computers. Co-founder Wozniak believes Steve might have got this name idea either from the farm or because of his music tastes in Apple Records which was quite popular with Beatles. Apple Logo

2. Adobe – The River:

Adobe Systems was incorporated in 1982 by John Warnock and Charles Geschke. The name evolved from Adobe Creek in Los Altos, California, a river that ran behind the house of one of the company’s founders. Adobe Logo

3. CISCO – The confused acronym:

CISCO is popularly confused as the acronym for ‘Computer Information System Company’. The name "Cisco" was actually derived from the city name, San Francisco, which is why the company’s engineers insisted on using the lower case "cisco" in the early days. CISCO Logo

4. Google – The Back Rub:

Did you know that the search engine you use frequently was once named ‘backrub’? Google was created in 1996 under the name "BackRub". Moreover, the Google name change in 1998 came as a spelling mistake of the word “googol”. Google Logo

5. Hewlett Packard – The coin toss:

We’ve seen coin toss at the start of sports games. But deciding the name of a company through a coin flip? That is how HP got its name. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett. Hewlett Packard Logo

6. Mercedes – The fair lady:

The famous car brand Mercedes was originally named after Emil Jellineks’ daughter, Mercédès Jellinek. Emil Jellineks was the man who specified an engine designed by Wilhelm Maybach and Gottlieb Daimler that formally bore his daughter’s name. Mercedes Logo

7. Pepsi Cola – The wine

Pepsi originated in 1893 under the name of “Brad’s Drink”. It was named after the pharmacist Celeb Bradham. In 1898, Brad’s Drink was renamed "Pepsi-Cola". The name change was apparently due to digestive enzyme pepsin and kola nuts used in the formula. Pepsi Logo

8. Intel – The hard to get trademark:

Did you know that the company we know as Intel, could have been ‘Moore Noyce’? Founders Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore sought this name for their new company but circumstantially that name was already trademarked by a hotel chain. Hence the acronym of INTegrated Electronics was adopted. Intel Logo

9. Sony – The slang terminology:

This giant brand was established under the name of Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation) in 1946. But the firm changed its name to “Sony” in 1958, an amalgamation of two words “sonus” and “sonny”. The English slang word "sonny" means smart, young and presentable. Sony Logo

10. Yahoo!

One of the most prominent search engines we know as Yahoo! was initially named "Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web". This was named after the founders Jerry Yang and David Filo. The term Yahoo! is an abbreviation for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle". Yahoo! Logo
If you know more interesting facts about famous brands, do share them with us.

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    [...] decir que el gato al agua se lo llevó Bill Hewlett. Esta es una de las 10 curiosidades sobre marcas famosas como Google, Apple, Adobe, Yahoo! o Cisco, entre [...]

  1. irakari On September 9th, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Thank you It was very interesting. More often raduyte us your review!

  1. Chris Gieger On September 9th, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Actually, The name Apple was inspired from Sir Isaac Newton’s apple story and how it gave him the “idea” about gravity, which is why the very first Apple logo featured Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree, with an apple about to hit his head.

  1. Ji-Sook On September 9th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    wow really interesting to read!!

  1. irakari On September 10th, 2010 at 3:27 am

    Excellent review! Thank you

  1. Sharron On September 10th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    As a former Cola-Cola executive I noticed that you referenced Coca-Cola in the opening paragraph but actually discuss Pepsi-Cola and show their logo product as the wine. Coca Cola was never a wine - it was a medicine in the beginning.

  1. anon On September 11th, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    most of these have no basis in reality. but hey, write the listicle anyway, right, cause today’s internet is all about hits, not facts!

  1. Nikki On September 12th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    The woman who designed the Nike Logo was only paid $35 for her work!!

  1. Charlie B. Johnson On September 13th, 2010 at 12:02 am

    @sharron…Thanks for pointing out the slip-up there, i originally intended to write “coca wine” but missed out “coca”. I’ve corrected the typo, clarifying the medicine aspect of Coca Cola.

    @anon…I’m sure my readers and I would certainly like to know exactly WHAT part of this article has “no basis in reality”? I would request you to be more precise the next time you comment.

    @ Nikki…i think your referring to Carolyn Davidson who designed the Nike swoosh.

  1. JPK On September 13th, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    There’s a nice story to the design of the iconic Marlboro cigarettes package. Back in the fifties when ad man Leo Burnett started working for the Marlboro brand, he proposed to make some design changes to the package. As you have a look at the logo, you’ll find the letters L and B are stretched. Obviously these are the initials of the legendary Leo Burnett himself.

  1. Baldfairy On September 13th, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    I wish pepsi was still called Brads Drink, that would be awesome! Great little write up, thanks!

  1. David - Web Designer On September 15th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Interesting one about Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.

  1. Trisha On September 20th, 2010 at 4:17 am

    Ok, the one about google and the spelling mistake actually caught me off guard. But it’s good to know their own individual history and background for the top brands. It’s kind of inspiring.

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  1. Gabriela Sáenz On September 20th, 2010 at 10:23 am

    “Co-founder Wozniak believes Steve might have got this name idea either from the farm or because of his music tastes in Apple Records which was quiet popular with Beatles.” QUIET popular? Don’t you mean QUITE?

  1. Charlie B. Johnson On September 20th, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    thanks for the correction Gabriela, I’ve fixed it now!

  1. web design preston On September 21st, 2010 at 4:34 am

    some really interesting facts there, i liked the google one. thanks for sharing

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  1. Dirk Jan On September 23rd, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Very interesting article, nice facts. Thanks

  1. Smashing Buzz On September 24th, 2010 at 3:26 am

    fruitful information in this article. thanks

  1. Adrian Grossett On September 28th, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Very interesting information - good to know the history behind some of the big brands out there.

  1. Cindy On September 28th, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Great article. I had no idea about most of this. Very interesting to say the least!

  1. Ryan On October 28th, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Hey not sure if this was mentioned, but I always thought that the Apple name also played on the word “byte” as in mega/gigabyte etc…?

  1. Cindy Auligny On October 29th, 2010 at 5:04 am

    Thanks for this interesting post. I’ve heard about the facts of those famous brands so far, but you know, this is the first time I know that CISCO stands for “Computer Information System Company” lOl

  1. Web Design Lancashire On January 30th, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    I must agree with Ryan I was always under the impression byte had something to do with the apple logo

  1. On June 8th, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Very good techniques! Exclusively the first one. Caught your very own Tv appearance,
    too. Lookin good, AR!

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