thinkbanking to thinkmoney - and 8 other brand name changes
Published 16 September 2012 by Helen Gradwell
From BackRub to Google and from Opal Fruits to Starburst - here are some of the known brand name changes in history. Any surprises?
You might have heard that the thinkbanking account has changed its name to the thinkmoney Current Account. If you haven't heard - you can read the FAQs about it here. Don't worry, not much is changing except the name.
It's got us thinking about some of the most successful brand-name changes throughout history. Change can sometimes be hard to handle - but for these companies it's all worked out for the best.
Opal Fruits to Starburst
In the USA, Opal Fruits were always called Starburst. We in Britain liked our Opal Fruits, however ("Opal Fruits, made to make your mouth water!"). So when Mars announced in 1998 that it was having one name for its product across the world - Starburst - us Brits were a bit sceptical. The adverts implied that the name had been chosen at random by a chimpanzee who actually wanted a banana (well, at least it's better than some of the other options, like 'Jungle Drops' and 'Chimpy Chompies').
It does seem that the chimp was right, however. Today, Starburst brings in £83 million annually - and they're still pretty tasty.
Jif to Cif
According to MSN Money, Jif changed their name to Cif because in some countries, the "J" sound is quite difficult to pronounce when compared to "C". People were a bit unsure, however - why all that fuss over one letter? Well, at least it got people talking, and it is now one of the world's most popular abrasive cleaners.
Marathon bars to Snickers
As with many of these stories, Marathon was rebranded as Snickers because that's what it was already called in other parts of the world. And apparently they still have annual sales of £1.2 billion - so it can't have hurt too much. So why Snickers? Well, according to MSN Money again, that was the name of the Mars family's favourite horse.
Oil of Ulay to Olay
Oil of Ulay actually originated as Olay, however they modified the name for different countries. They decided upon the name 'Oil of Ulay' for the UK. Later, when they decided to unify their global brand, they changed the name to Olay. In Germany, however, they call it 'Olaz'. Crazy stuff.
BT Cellnet to O2
Why did BT Cellnet change its name to O2 in 2002? Well, it's shorter for one. Besides, Peter Eskine - the man responsible for the rebrand - said: "people don't need to be taught to spell it." Fair enough.
BackRub to Google
In 1996, Google was created under the name BackRub. In 1998 they decided to rename it 'Google' - which has been widely regarded as a good move. The name Google is based on the word 'googol' - which is a number represented by a 'one' followed by 100 zeros. They chose it to represent the seemingly infinite amount of information available on the web.
Brad's Drink to Pepsi-Cola
In 1893, a man called Caleb Bradham invented a soft drink and decided to name it 'Brad's Drink.' A few years later (in 1898) it was renamed Pepsi-Cola - and the rest, as they say, is history.
Celebrity name changes
And it's not just companies that change their names. Loads of celebrities have decided to change the names they were born with - for a number of different reasons. For example, many celebrities have changed their names to make them easier to pronounce - like Farrokh Bulsara to Freddie Mercury, Natalie Hershlag to Natalie Portman, Stefani Germanotta to Lady Gaga and Jennifer Anastassakis to Jennifer Aniston.
Some change their names to distance themselves from famous relatives - for example Nicolas Coppola didn't want success purely due to his famous surname, so he changed his name to Nicolas Cage.
Other celebrity names, however, are changed for more interesting reasons. For example, Helen Mirren was originally named Ilynea Lydia Mironoff by her Russian nobleman father. When the family was stranded in London during the Russian Revolution, however, he changed her name so she wouldn't be treated with suspicion during the Cold War.