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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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