Origins of 5 Famous Taglines, Logos, and Company Names
We see their logos plastered on newspapers, buildings and merchandise, and their names are used in everyday conversation, but do we know why these famous companies have chosen to brand themselves the way they have? Read on for the origins behind your favorite companies.
The best companies should be ready and willing to pull ideas from anywhere and anything. According to Jonah Lehrer in his book Imagine, Nike found their catchy tagline through Gary Gilmore, a murderer back in 1976. His last words before he received the death penalty? “Let’s do it”. Decades later when Dan Wieden was tasked with creating the athletic company’s new tagline, something about Gilmore’s words stuck. “Let’s” was changed to “just” to create a sense of urgency and definitiveness.
Before becoming Amazon.com, the retail website was known as Cadabra, Inc. However, as this name was often mistaken with “Cadaver”, founder Jeff Bezos set out on a search for a new name and chose Amazon for two reasons: (1) he wanted a name that would show up at the top of alphabetical lists and, (2) the Amazon is the largest river in the world, which reflected his hopes that his company would be the biggest in the world. The company’s website also explains their logo, where the bright arrow between the “a” and the “z” represents their ability to provide every product “from a to z.”
There are several theories about how the search engine giant got its name, one of them being that the company originally misspelled “googol”, a word that defines a very large number. However, when they found out that the domain name “google.com” was still available, they simply decided to keep it.
Have you ever bought a computer from Executex? What about Matrix Electronics? According to author Steve Rivkin, these could have been the names of Steve Jobs’ computer company if he hadn’t spent a few months working at an apple orchard in Oregon before his technology partnership launched. In his biography, Jobs is quoted to say that he liked the name because it sounded “fun, spirited, and not intimidating.” Indeed the name is so simple and unforgettable; we couldn’t imagine it being anything else.
What do you see when you look at the Goodwill logo? Most people see half of a smiling face, but the image doubles as a lowercase “g” for “Goodwill”. The company’s website discusses the history of Goodwill, which began over a hundred years ago by a Methodist minister. The smiling face in their logo represents the joy that goodwill workers experience when helping those in need, but also the happiness of the people on the receiving end.