News and diversions related to brand stories, brand logos, and brand slogans:
In his most recent "On Language" column for the New York Times Magazine, Ben Zimmer investigates the corporate "etymythologies" behind slacks, sneakers, crackerjack, kisses (as in Hershey's), and—my favorite—dongle. He expands on "etymythology" in Visual Thesaurus:
Fanciful word lore gets passed around and sometimes gets accepted as the gospel truth. Companies like Keds, Haggar, and Hershey simply take that impulse to come up with lexical just-so stories and provide an institutional backing that encourages the myths to persist as a point of corporate pride.
Devon at Pollywog Blog notes that one famous etymythology is missing from the "On Language" column: Jamba Juice.
At one time, Jamba Juice asserted that its name was derived from an African word meaning “to celebrate.” The company published this specious claim on its Web site, raising the eyebrows of linguists who wanted to know which of the 1800 languages spoken in Africa was the original source. In Umbundu, “jamba” translates to “elephant.” In Swahili, it means “to fart.”
So—how well do you know your brands? Corporate communications agency Cramer Sweeney challenges you to identify 20 famous brands from their logos, taglines, mascots, and audio trademarks. (Via Wonder Branding.)
By the way, there are two errors in the Cramer Sweeney quiz answers. One is a spelling error; the other misrepresents a brand name. Can you spot them? UPDATE: Answers after the jump.
1. It's Brawny, not "Brawney."
2. It's Mercedes-Benz, not "Mercedes."