The Most ‘What The F…!!’ Stories From The World Of Marketing

Marketing and marketers are generally considered as lying, cheating beings, out there to grab your money. But one cannot deny the fact that they are also brilliant minds, some of whom gave a lot of strategizing brains to create some of the most famous brand names in the world. Some of these stories are also potboiler stuff. Not surprising that a wise soul was driven to make an entire movie on social networking as we know it today. So bring out those popcorns brands (!) and read on these fascinating stories behind some of the world’s biggest brand names.


  1. Kellogg’s cornflakes began as a ‘cure’ for masturbating: John Harvey Kellogg, a medical practitioner, held very conservative views about sex and sexuality, with a book on the ill-effects of ‘self-abuse’ (as he termed it). He, along with his brother, came up with multiple cures for this ‘disease’, one of which was a healthy diet free of meat, and full of cereals and nuts. His brother’s business acumen later gave birth to world’s favorite breakfast.
  2. P&G wouldn’t have existed but for the founders’ marriages:  William Proctor and James Gamble belonged to warring countries (England and Ireland, respectively). They were in business which clamored for limited resources (one was a soapmaker, the other a candlemaker). Both had settled in Cincinnati, USA and got married to women who were sisters. It was their father-in-law who suggested they pooled their businesses, leading to the creation of the FMCG giant.
  3.  ‘Escalator’ is a brand name :  The product is ‘moving staircase’. Otis’ brand is one of the famous brand names suffering from the weird dichotomy of them becoming too famous to be protected by copyright (called ‘Generic Trademark’). Other names in which faced similar fates are Jell-O, Rollerblades, Xerox, Aspirin, Heroin, Velcro,Thermos, Popsicle, Band-aid, and horror of horrors, Bubble wrap!
  4.  Warner brothers owned the copyright to ‘happy birthday’ song till Feb,2016: which means the countless number of times you sang the song makes you indebted to Warner. : O
  5.  Apple Ipad’s Retina Display is manufactured by Samsung: Who would have thought!!! Although it is only one of the manufacturers.
  6. Criminal Gary Gilmore’s last words began a brand slogan: His last words while standing before a firing squad were, ‘Let’s do it’. Guess which brand was inspired by it to create  a world famous slogan.
  7. YAHOO is an acronym: Yes. It stands for Yet Another Hierarchical Officiating Oracle. No, it does not come from Shammi Kapoor’s war (love?) cry.
  8.  Coca Cola uses a secret ingredient for flavouring: It is known as ‘7X’, and is purportedly known only by very few people in the world, although some theories suggest this is a massive publicity ploy. The ingredient is protected in a giant vault at the Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta.
  9.  Marlboro started out as cigarette for women: One of the world’favoritete cigarettes, with the rugged cowboy Marlboro Man, was originally positioned as a mild cigarette with filters, ideal for women. After studies linking smoking to cancer gained prominence, men too demanded filtered cigarettes, but did not want to be associated with a ‘feminine’ cigarette. This led to Marlboro changing its sex image.




About the Author:



Aastha Sneha Pathak is a 2nd year student at IIM Lucknow. Besides living the hel(L)ish life, she loves to read. She is also a member of Forty Two, the literary and debating club on campus, as well as, Team Disha, the committee of placement mentors.