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10 OBSCURE FACTS ABOUT FAMOUS BRANDS –

 

 

The corporate world is increasingly facing raging capitalism and cut-throat competition. A handful of multinational companies control a prominent part of the world’s economy. Unknown to us, these brands have become a major part of our lives and have made their presence felt worldwide. These brands attract potential customers by providing attractive discounts and employing innovative marketing strategies. Every brand has its interesting backstory and certainly lesser-known facts. We have compiled a list of top ten unknown facts about famous brands that everyone should know about.

1. In 2002, Fujitsu made a device called the “iPad,” and Apple had to pay $4 million to Fujitsu to buy the trademark rights.

Image credits: Fujitsu, Pexel

The term “iPad” is synonymous with the tech giant Apple. However, before the product was officially launched, the iconic name was held by Fujitsu. In 2002, Japanese tech giant Fujitsu released its own version of the iPad, a handheld device. The lightweight device was used for facilitating inventory management and credit card payments. The device comprised of an Intel processor and a Microsoft operating system. Moreover, the versatile device supported both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

In 2010, when Apple decided to launch its signature device, they were caught amidst a naming controversy. Fujitsu accused Apple of stealing its product name and threatened to sue the company. To settle the allegations, Apple purchased the trademark rights from Fujitsu for a whopping $4 million. The rest is history as Apple’s iPad became a signature line of tablet computers. (source)

2. “Backrub” was actually one of the earliest names for Google back in the mid-1990s when its core function was to analyze backlinks on the web.

Google needs no formal introduction since it is the most widely used search engine in the world. It was launched in 1998 by a pair of Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. During the initial stages, the pair was working on a computer program named “Backrub.” The quirkily named computer program was actually a search engine that was used for backlink analysis – tracking and recording data on the Internet.

The name “Backrub” was derived from a series of algorithms that were used for calculating ranks from the backlinks generated from a particular webpage. The search engine gained immense popularity. In 1999, Brin and Page opened their maiden office in a garage owned by Susan Wojcicki in California. In an interesting turn of events, the name “Google” is a mathematical play on the term “googol” – denoting number one followed by 100 zeros. (1, 2)

3. Pepsi was introduced as “Brad’s Drink” by Caleb Bradham who made and sold it at his drugstore. It was renamed “Pepsi Cola” in 1898 after the digestive enzyme pepsin and kola nuts used in the recipe.

(Image 2) Caleb Davis Bradham. Image credits: Pexel, Wikipedia

One of America’s largest food and beverage company, PepsiCo, has an interesting backstory. Pepsi was created in 1893 by Caleb Bradham, a pharmacist hoping to duplicate the taste of Coca-Cola. He introduced his creation as “Brad’s Drink” and sold it at his drugstore. The drink was made from a mix of water, sugar, caramel, lemon oil, nutmeg and various natural additives such as kola nuts. The drink became an overnight sensation. In 1898, Bradham christened it as “Pepsi-Cola.”

The pharmacist believed that the concoction was more than a refreshing drink but a “healthy” cola. He strongly believed that the cola was crucial in aiding digestion. Ironically, the name “Pepsi” is derived from the word pepsin, an enzyme that breaks down protein into smaller peptides to aid digestion. The drink was initially sold in syrup bottles, and due to its increasing popularity, it was soon sold in glass bottles. (1, 2)

4. The first product developed by the tech giant SONY was an electric rice-cooker made of aluminum electrodes and a wooden bucket.

Image credits: Sony, News18

Sony, a multinational conglomerate, is famous for its electronic goods and is a key player in the market. However, the company had a humble beginning in 1945 when it was founded by a defense contractor named Masaru Ibuka. The first product created by its founder was not a fancy electronic gadget but a humble rice-cooker. The rice-cooker was released under the company name “Tokyo Telecommunications Research Institute.”

The electric rice-cooker was created by interlocking a pair of aluminum electrodes that were attached to a simple, wooden tub. The product was considered to be a failure as the end product relied heavily on the quality of rice and the quantity of water. The product consistently produced mostly undercooked or overcooked rice. Since the product was considered a failure, it was never released in the market. (1, 2)

5. Samsung originally sold dry fish, vegetables, and noodles. It wasn’t until 1970 that they started selling electronics.

Over the decades, Samsung has become a household name by manufacturing a range of products. The world’s second largest tech company had a humble beginning in 1938. The conglomerate was founded by Byung-Chull Lee, a local businessman in South Korea. The company started out by selling exported goods such as Korean dry fish, flour, noodles, vegetables, and a variety of local produce to China.

The company was instrumental in propelling the nation’s economy by reviving industrialization after the Korean War. Around the 1950s, the company branched out to other business ventures such as insurance and textiles. Later, in 1970, the company released its first black-and-white TV into the market. After its successful venture, the company started manufacturing household appliances and electronic gadgets. (1, 2)

6. Fanta is available in more than hundreds of flavors, including “Mushroom,” “Red Tangerine,” “Lychee Soursop,” and “Banana Fermented Milk.”

Image credits: Fanta

Fanta is a term that is synonymous with its color orange and its trademark, fruity flavor. It is a fruit-flavored carbonated drink manufactured by Coca-Cola. The drink was created in Germany during World War II under trade embargo. According to sources, the name and its flavor was the result of an intense brainstorming session. The initial concoction was made out of available leftovers such as whey and apple pomace.

There are more than 90 flavors of Fanta available worldwide. Countries such as Albania, Turkey, and Sweden boast of having “Fanta Shokata” made from elderflower blossom extract. In Japan, the company released a quirky “Chilly Tangerine” flavor. Moreover, the company has released a myriad of quirky flavors such as “Mushroom,” “Lychee Soursop,” and “Banana Fermented Milk.” (1, 2)

7. In 1994, IBM released a cell phone with touch screen and e-mail. It could send and receive faxes and work as a pager. It was considered to be the “world’s first smartphone” due to its advanced features and capabilities.

IBM is an American multinational company famous for producing and selling computer hardware, middleware, and software. It is astonishing to note that the company in 1994 sold a cell phone dubbed as “world’s first smartphone.” The cell phone, named “IBM Simon,” was a handheld, touchscreen, personal device and was assembled by Mitsubishi Electric.

IBM Simon was dubbed as the first smartphone due to its advanced features. It was the first personal device that incorporated the features of a cell phone and a PDA. Furthermore, it included telephony features, email exchange, cellular pages, calendar, address book, maps, stock, and news. The company sold an estimated 50,000 units within a year. However, the only drawback was the battery life only lasted for an hour.(source)

8. The first item sold on eBay was a broken laser-pointer for $14.83 to someone who kept a broken laser-pointer collection.

(Image 2) The Buyer Behind eBay’s First Ever Sale. Image credits: Pixabay, EbayNewsroom/Youtube

Anyone can buy and sell an array of products such as electronics, collectibles, cars, and everything else on eBay. The first product to be sold on eBay was a broken laser-pointer pen. The broken pen was sold by the founder of the site, Pierre Omidyar, on Labor Day weekend in 1995. Pierre was testing his site and toyed with the idea of auctioning his broken laser-pointer.

Shortly after posting, he was left in disbelief when a customer purchased the broken laser-pointer for a bid of $14.83. He contacted the customer to let him know that he had purchased a damaged product. However, the buyer clarified that he was an avid collector of laser-pointers and was very satisfied with his purchase. This conversation paved the way and propelled eBay to become the world’s largest marketplace for selling literally everything. (1, 2)

9. Coca-Cola never patented their “secret formula” because otherwise, they would be required to disclose it to the public.

(Image 2) Vault of the Secret Formula at the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. Image credits: Summi/Wikipedia, Mx. Granger/Wikipedia

Coca-Cola’s formula is considered to be the “world’s most-guarded secret.” The formula is closely guarded in a custom-built vault at the company’s headquarter in Atlanta. Even the employees who have access to the vault have to pass through rigorous safety measures that include palm scanners, keypads, and a massive steel door. The company has this safety mechanism in place since they never patented their “secret formula” that is written down on a piece of paper.

According to the Intellectual Property Rights rules, once a product is patented, the recipe along with ingredients must be disclosed after a period of 20 years. Why would the food giant disclose their recipe for a short-protection period? To guard their secret, the company has heavily invested in its trademark’s secret by increasing its production scale. Rather than applying for a patent, the company filed for trade secret since its lifetime is infinite. (1, 2)

10. BMW holds the world record for longest (water-assisted) drift at 232.5 miles in which they performed a mid-drift while refueling five times breaking a second record for longest “twin vehicle drift.”

Image credits: BMW

In 2018, BWM broke a world record for performing the longest, water assisted drift. The feat was performed by BMW M5 and took nearly eight hours to complete 374.1 kilometers. The incredible feat was performed by BMW Performance Driving School instructor Johan Schwartz. The drift was carried out on a skid pad that was kept damp to facilitate the lengthy drift. The previous record was held by a Toyota GT86 that covered 144.12 kilometers. Initially, Schwartz had intended to do only 549 laps but ended up performing 2,000 laps.

The car was refueled five times while in mid-drift by another experienced driver. The support vehicle had to drift alongside to fuel the car with the help of the additional gasoline tank mounted in the car’s trunk. Additionally, by performing the refueling feat, the company broke another world record for the world’s longest “Twin-Vehicle Drift” (water-assisted). This was achieved by two BMW M5s drifting 79.26 km (49.25 miles) over the course of an hour. Thus, BMW managed to bag two world records in a single day by performing this marvelous feat. (1, 2)

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