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  • Posted by: Rachel Bernard on Friday, April 23 2010 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

    By Rachel Bernard and Emma Cofer

    Last week, we gave you a brand reality check. Could our savvy readers tell when an eponymous brand was named after a flesh-and-blood founder, or when a spokesperson was a figment of the company’s imagination?

    The wait is over. Here are the answers. Expect some surprises—and some stories.


    Who are you wearing?
    Ann Taylor or Eileen Fisher
    Real: Eileen Fischer
    Sorry, Ann—you’re a dress. The brand is named after a best-selling garment at the founder's father's store. Eileen Fisher, however, is a genuine (trés chic) clothing designer, and the founder of her self-named company.

    Pass the syrup, please
    Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth’s
    Real: Neither
    Aunt Jemima’s name was inspired by a popular vaudeville song and character from the 1800s. Mrs. Butterworth is also an invention. And did you ever wonder what her first name is? Joy, as “discovered” in a recent consumer contest.

    Sweet!
    Betty Crocker or Sara Lee
    Real: Sara Lee
    Sara Lee was named in honor of the co-founder’s daughter, but Betty Crocker was created in 1921 to personalize responses to consumer questions. The name “Betty” was selected for its all-American sound; “Crocker” was the surname of a company director.

    Revolutionary businessmen
    Ethan Allen or Samuel Adams
    Real: Neither or both—depending on how you look at it
    Both were famous figures in the American Revolution, but neither formed a home furnishing line or a national brewery. “Ethan Allen” was inspired by the firm’s colonial style, and “Samuel Adams” is a nod to the leader who was rumored to dabble in home brewing.

    Prep-masters
    J. Crew or Abercrombie & Fitch
    Real: Abercrombie & Fitch
    David Abercrombie and Ezra Fitch founded an upscale sporting goods store in the late 1800s. But J. Crew was named as a ploy to sound preppy—it was originally called “Popular Club Plan,” which doesn’t bespeak Oxford shirts and ribbon belts quite as well.

    For the outdoorsy
    Eddie Bauer or L.L. Bean
    Real: Both
    Eddie Bauer and L.L. Bean were dedicated outdoorsmen, and each founded his company in the early 1900s after the success of a wardrobe innovation—Mr. Bauer patented the first quilted down jacket, Mr. Bean the waterproof hunting boot.

    Excuse me, are you together?
    Jack Spade or Kate Spade
    Real: Kate Spade
    Unless you don’t mind the sneaky swap of Andy Spade’s first name for the catchy “Jack,” chosen for its proud legacy in American culture, only Kate can claim full brand eponymy. Kate and Andy Spade are partners in business and life—check out our earlier article about the pair.

    Walk a mile
    TOMS Shoes or Steve Madden
    Real: Steve Madden
    Steve and Tom can’t get together for a chat about footwear, because only Madden is a real fellow. TOMS is a coining of the word "tomorrow,” inspired by the original brand idea: "Shoes for Tomorrow Project."

    Right on the shelf
    Chef Boyardee or Marie Callender’s
    Real: Both
    Although the authentic spelling would be “Chef Boiardi,” the Italian-American immigrant chef truly did found the food company. And Marie Callender was named after the founder’s mother—because nobody makes pies quite like mom.

    Hair they are!
    Bumble and bumble or Paul Mitchell
    Real: Paul Mitchell
    Bumble and bumble broke with tradition when it was founded in 1977, since salons were usually named after their owner. But B and b persisted, along with more traditionally named hair care lines like Paul Mitchell. Mitchell has its own secret, though: The “Paul Mitchell” from ads is actually co-founder John Paul DeJoria.

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  • Posted by: Rachel Bernard on Tuesday, April 20 2010 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

    By Rachel Bernard and Emma Cofer

    Having a name as a brand can be more than a tip of the hat to a famous founder. It infuses the brand with a human element, connecting consumers to a concrete symbol of the business. In many cases, it allows the company to create a spokesperson or develop a more literal personality.

    But do you know when you’re meeting a real person or a marketing ploy?
     
    Test your brand IQ with the quiz below. Please, post your guesses as comments. And come back on Friday, when we’ll give you the answers—and a lesson in corporate history.

     
    Directions: Choose the “real” brands in the face-offs below. Sometimes, both are backed by history…but in a few cases, neither has a namesake!

    Who are you wearing?
    Ann Taylor or Eileen Fisher

    Pass the syrup, please
    Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth’s
     
    Sweet!
    Betty Crocker or Sara Lee

    Revolutionary businessmen
    Ethan Allen or Samuel Adams

    Prep-masters
    J. Crew or Abercrombie & Fitch
     
    For the outdoorsy
    Eddie Bauer or L.L. Bean

    Excuse me, are you together?
    Jack Spade or Kate Spade

    Walk a mile
    TOMS Shoes or Steve Madden
     
    Right on the shelf
    Chef Boyardee or Marie Callender’s
     
    Hair they are!
    Bumble and bumble or Paul Mitchell

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