The 13 Worst Urban Legends About Brands Sold In America

Coca Cola No Mohammed, No MeccaOne myth suggests that when the Coca-Cola logo is inversed it delivers an anti-Muslim message.

Photo: FrozenAnarchy / Screenshot

There are a lot of false myths and urban legends about brands: Some are trivial (the “Dude, you’re getting a Dell guy” did not, actually, get fired from the campaign for smoking pot).And some take on a cultural currency of their own, even when they’re completely false. Is there anyone who doesn’t “know” that Pop Rocks and Coca-Cola killed Life cereal’s Little Mikey, for instance?

Some companies spend major sums attempting to retain their image via ad campaigns, PR outreach and lawsuits.

Some companies have created websites solely to debunk myths, like this one from Coca-Cola that debunks dozens of myths. A lot of the myths are obvious fiction, but some have actually become “truth” in pop culture.

rumour: Mountain Dew reduces sperm count.

Truth: There is no evidence Yellow 5, the key ingredient in question, actually causes decreased sperm count.

rumour: If you reverse the Coca-Cola logo, it reads 'no Mohammad, no Mecca' in Arabic.

Truth: As you can see in the video below, you actually have to change the mark to read Coca-Cota for this to even remotely come close. Furthermore, Coca-Cola claims numerous clerics and commissions have studied this only to find nothing. The company acknowledges, there was little knowledge of Arabic in 1886 Atlanta--when the logo was designed.

rumour: The Dell Dude was replaced because he was arrested for marijuana.

Truth: Benjamin Curtis, best known for his line, 'dude, you're getting a Dell'--was indeed arrested for marijuana possession. However, as noted by Snopes, the commercials were being replaced before he got in trouble. The Dell dude was replaced because it was time for a new campaign.

rumour: Vans shoes feature the Star of David on its soles so that you can step on it.

Truth: While the six-pointed star definitely appears on the bottom of the shoes, the Anti-Defamation League concluded numerous times it wasn't related to religion. The design is just a design.

rumour: The kid in the Life commercials died from consuming Pop Rocks and Coca-Cola.

Truth: John Gilchrist, the actor who played Little Mikey in the Life commercials, did not die from consuming Coca-Cola and Pop Rocks at the same time. The rumour suggested that the Pop Rocks would expand in your stomach causing you to explode. General Mills, the parent of Life, was forced to take out a national campaign to explain the actor had not died. It even inspired the Green Day song, 'Pop Rocks and Coke.'

rumour: Proctor & Gamble' former logo shows its company's ties to the Church of Satan. The 13 stars represent a verse from Revelations, and '666,' the number of the beast, appears in the man's beard.

Truth: Proctor & Gamble said the logo depicted a man overlooking 13 stars to represent the original thirteen American colonies. It unsuccessfully sued Amway for spreading the rumours and then successfully sued Amway's distributors. It also changed its logo.

rumour: Liz Claiborne told Oprah she didn't design clothes for black women.

Truth: Spike Lee repeated this rumour to Esquire but Claiborne never appeared on Oprah in the late 1980s or the early 1990s. Oprah's staff confirms the fashion designer was not on the show and did not make those claims.

rumour: Snapple supported numerous racist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan.

Truth: Snapple didn't support these groups. In fact, the company was founded by three Jews--unlikely to be supporters of the KKK. rumours claimed the 'K' on the company's old bottle design signified the KKK but it was actually a reference to the drink being kosher. Snapple opted to change th bottle designs and bought ads denying the rumour.

rumour: Adidas is actually an acronym for 'all day I dream about sex'

Truth: Adidas was formed after the Dassler brothers split up after World War II. Adolf 'Adi' Dassler founded Adidas (hence the name) while his brother Rudolf started the company that would become Puma.

rumour: Disney goes to lengths to ensure that no one is ever declared dead on its property.

Truth: While some have claimed the company policy is to not have anyone declared dead at Disney, people have in fact been pronounced dead on Disney property.

rumour: A Japanese town changed its name to 'Usa' after World War II so it could label its products 'MADE IN USA.'

Truth: Usa is a place in Japan but its origins are go back to the 8th century. Furthermore, products have to display the country of origin, not the city, so this scam would never have made it past U.S. Customs.

rumour: Heinz really does have 57 varieties.

Truth: Company founder Henry Heinz admitted he just made it up after seeing another advertisement. There was some basis--five was his lucky number and seven was his wife's, but it had nothing to do with the amount of products the company made.

rumour: Tommy Hilfiger told Oprah he didn't want blacks or Asians to wear his clothes.

Truth: Like the Liz Claiborne-Oprah rumour, it was also false. Oprah denied it and even began the first part of Hilfiger's debut appearance on the show, years later, by debunking the rumour.

Liz Claiborne survived the racism controversy in the 1990s ...

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