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'Completely made up' - How 20 top brands got their names

'Completely made up' - How 20 top brands got their names

Posted on June 2014 By Ellie Somers

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Ever wondered how some of our best-loved household brands got their names? Find out which global giant was inspired by Moby Dick, whose original name sounded too much like like 'Cadaver' and which brand names are entirely made up!


Adidas

A nickname of founder Adolf ‘Adi’ Dassler

Adobe Systems

Named after Adobe Creek, a stream which ran behind the house of one of the co-founders, John Warnock.

Amazon

Named after the most voluminous river in the world, having been originally launched as Cadabra.com. Over the phone, this was repeatedly mistaken for ‘Cadaver’, hence the change.

Amstrad

Alan Michael Sugar Trading

Accenture

‘Accent on the future’ – following an employee competition to come up with a new name

Aldi

The surname of the founders (Albrecht) plus discount

Danone

The founders first son Daniel + one

Datsun

Originally DAT, changed to Datson implying a smaller version of the car, then changed to Datsun (as son can mean ‘loss’ in Japanese) when acquired by Nissan

Equifax

Equitable and factual

Garmin

After its founders Gary Burrell and Dr. Min Kao

Haagen-Dazs

A completely made-up ‘European sounding’ name designed to ‘convey an aura of old-world traditions and craftsmanship’

Intel

From Integrated Electronics

Lego

A play on the Danish expression, Leg godt, which means, Play well.

Lycos

From Lycosidae, the family of wolf spiders

Pixar

From pixel and the co-founder's name, Alvy Ray Smith

Samsonite

After the Biblical character Samson, renowned for his strength

Starbucks

After Starbuck, a coffee loving character in Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick

Twitter

A combination of early name ideas, Twitch and Jitter which evoked the impression of receiving a tweet over SMS

Virgin

Because they were ‘complete virgins at business'

Vodafone

From Voice, Data, Telephone