The Hidden Origins Of How These 13 Brands Got Their Famous Name


Whether it be in a supermarket or shopping center, we pass by hundreds of brands a day.

But while consumers will readily purchase their favorite products, not many people are aware of where the company's name came from.

If you've ever wondered where the hidden meaning of 13 of the most famous brands came from, buckle up your seat belts things are about to get interesting.

1. Gatorade

Frequently consumed by athletes, Gatorade's name ties in to its sports-themed branding.

Founded in 1965, a team of sports doctors created this drink for the University of Florida's football team, who had difficulties playing in the heat.

Their beverage was able to replace the fluids and electrolytes in the players' bodies when they sweated them out.

Becoming a success, the team of researchers decided to name the drink after the school's mascot, the Gators.

2. Lego

This popular children's toy company was created by Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen.

While his manufacturing company originally made stepladders, ironing boards, stools, and wooden toys, they only began making the iconic colorful, plastic toys in 1949.

The name Lego comes the abbreviation of the Danish phrase “leg godt,” which translates to “Play Well” in English and "I Put Together" or "I Assemble" in Latin.

3. Nintendo

Although Nintendo aficionados are split on the origins of the hugely successful electronics and video game company, the majority of fans believe the name was chosen because it roughly translates to “leave luck to heaven” in English.

4. Ikea

One of North America and Europe's favorite furniture stores, IKEA's name is actually an acronym.

In 1943, IKEA was founded by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad, who decided to name the company after the initials of his first and last name, along with the first letters of his childhood farm and hometown in Sweden, Elmtaryd, Agunnaryd.

5. Gap

One of the most popular clothing stores, the name Gap was chosen in 1969 to signify the generation gap between children and adults.

6. Amazon

This one's simple. The major online commerce store was named after the Amazon, the largest river in the world.

The company's founder Jeff Benzos chose the name as it reflected how massive their inventory was.

Benzos originally wanted to name his company Cadabra, but was advised against it as it sounded too much like “cadaver.”

The name "relentless.com" was also considered, but Benzo eventually settled on the iconic name we all know today.

7. Google

Interestingly enough, this mega-popular search engine was named Google based on a typo.

Originally named BackRub in 1996, the company's co-founder Larry Page misspelled the number “Googol,” which is the digit one, followed by 100 zeros.

He and his co-founder Sergey Brin decided to keep the name as the domain was available.

8. Panera Bread

Many fans of this bakery chain store will be surprised to know the word Panera is a combination of two different languages.

According to the company's Facebook page, the name is a combination of the words “Pan,” which means bread in Spanish, while “era” has Latin roots.

If you put them together you get Panera, which translates to "the time of the bread."

9. Pepsi

Although some will say Coke is better than Pepsi, we bet the rival soda company doesn't have an as interesting name behind their brand.

Pepsi's founder Caleb Davis Bradham originally wanted to become a doctor, but due to a family crisis, he became a pharmacist instead.

He originally named the beverage Brad's Cola in 1893, but changed the name to Pepsi-Cola five years later.

He believed his drink could help with digestion problems or dyspepsia, which he got the name from.

10. Häagen-Dazs

As it turns out, this popular ice cream brand's name doesn't mean anything!

it was founded by Reuben Mattus, a Jewish immigrant from Poland, who wanted a name that sounded Danish, as a tribute to Denmark.

"The only country which saved the Jews during World War II was Denmark, so I put together a totally fictitious Danish name and had it registered," Mattus told Tablet Magazine.

"Häagen-Dazs doesn't mean anything. [But] it would attract attention, especially with the umlaut."

11. Samsung

In 1938, Samsung's founder Lee Byung-chull wanted to name his electronics company something that would reflect its longevity, so he settled on Samsung.

In Korean, Samsung translates to “Three Stars” or “Tristar,” which would signify the company will last forever, just like the stars in the sky.

12. Starbucks

According to Starbucks' co-founder Gordon Bowker, the coffee company's name is based on Moby-Dick.

He noticed an old map, where the small mining town of “Starbo” was included, which reminded him of the first mate in classic novel, Starbuck.

Before the company settled on the name Starbucks, the company's co-founders considered "Cargo House" and "Pequod," which was the name of Captain Ahab’s ship.

13. Six Flags

You might have a clue of where the name of this popular amusement park came from, but we'll still tell you the details.

The first location was named Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, which referred to the flags of the six different regions that governed the Midwestern state: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America.

The name proved to be popular, and the company stuck with it for their 20 other amusement and water parks across North

[H/T: Reader's Digest, Mental Floss, Business Insider]

Which secret meaning surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments!

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