Do you know your brand acronyms?

As consumers, we’re exposed to anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 brand mentions per day. Yet when it comes to the brands we are most familiar with, we may not know the simplest things about them.

Consider M&Ms. They’re the small chocolate candy many of us have eaten since childhood. They’ve always been around, there was once controversy about the red M&Ms, and for years the main flavor choices were plain or peanut. M&Ms are ubiquitous.

And until recently, I never thought about what the Ms might stand for.

In this post, we’ll take a look at (and define) brands and products that are mostly known by acronyms or initialisms. (Definitions courtesy of Wikipedia.)

  1. Aflac — American Family Life Insurance Company
  2. AT&T — American Telephone & Telegraph
  3. CAPTCHA — Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart
  4. Cisco — an abbreviation for San Francisco
  5. COMPAQ — Compatibility and Quality
  6. CVS Pharmacy — Consumer Value Stores
  7. eBAY — Echo Bay Technology Group
  8. eos — Evolution of Smooth
  9. Epcot — Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow
  10. ESPN — Entertainment and Sports Programming Network
  11. FIAT — Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (Italian automobile factory of Turin)
  12. IKEA — Ingvar Kamprad Elmtaryd Agunnaryd (the initials of the company’s founders and the name of his hometown)
  13. Intel — Integrated Electronics
  14. LG — Lucky Goldstar (combination of two popular Korean brands)
  15. M&Ms — Mars & Murrie’s (the last names of the candy’s creators)
  16. Mattel – a combination of the founders’ names, Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler
  17. NERF — Non Expandable Recreational Foam
  18. OPI — Odontorium Products, Inc.
  19. PAM — Product Arthur Meyerhoff
  20. Pepsi — named after pepsin, a digestive enzyme
  21. Smart car — Swatch Mercedes Art
  22. Sprint — Southern Pacific Railroad Internal Communications
  23. TASER — Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle
  24. TIME magazine — The International Magazine of Events
  25. WD-40 — Water Displacement-40th attempt
  26. YAHOO — Yet Another Hierarchical Official Oracle
  27. ZIP code — Zone Improvement Plan code

How many of these did you know? Do you have any to add to the list?


This post was also published on Ragan Communication’s PR Daily.



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