Ilivetolearn's Blog

February 5, 2010


Filed under: names/language — ilivetolearn @ 9:38 pm

The last two months’ obituaries have taught me a thing or two about branding. Did you think Price Club was so called because of its low prices? Wrong. It was founded by Sol Price, who died in mid-December. It’s now part of Costco, no doubt named after Willard S. Cost (OK, I made that up).

How about Taco Bell: given that name because it makes for a cute logo and seems to carry the subliminal “ring the Pavlovian bell and be rewarded with Mexican food” message? Wrong. Founded by the recently deceased Glen W. Bell.

And for a more historical perspective: there’s the Outerbridge Crossing, connecting Staten Island with New Jersey. Happens to be the most remote of the Port Authority bridges and the southernmost bridge in New York State. Hence the name? No. It was named for the first chairman of the Port Authority, Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge, who lived in Staten Island at the time.

The reverse is true sometimes: Cross Campus at Yale is called that because it…crosses the campus. Not, as I had been authoritatively telling people, after Wilbur Cross, who will have to be content with the high school and the parkway as namesakes.

Now how about the name Eugenius…is it a) a Roman emperor, b) an indie rock band, c) a 12th-century pope, d) a digital imaging firm, or e) all of the above?


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