Canadian smartphone and tablet brand Blackberry was originally launched in 1984 as Research in Motion, when it was founded by Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin. But in January 2013, the company announced plans to change its name to Blackberry – inspired by its Blackberry phone range that has keyboards resembling druplets of the blackberry fruit – in an effort to revive the declining brand in a competitive market.
Before one of the world’s most popular soft drinks became famous, Pepsi-Cola was briefly named as Brad’s Drink – a name inspired by the surname of its creator, Caleb Bradham. Caleb invented the drink as ‘Brad’s Drink’ in 1893, but renamed it to Pepsi-Cola just five years later as he believed it wasn’t just a refreshment, but a “healthy” cola, which supposedly aided digestion.
Before it became Nike, the world’s most famous sporty tick was known as Blue Ribbon Sports, acting as a distributor for Japanese shoemaker Onitsuka Tiger. But as the relationship between Blue Ribbon Sports and Onitsuka started to collapse, Blue Ribbon launched its own line of footwear called Nike – the name of the Greek Goddess of Victory.
Some may remember AOL by its former name, Quantum Computer Services, which only got scrapped in 1991 when the search engine was renamed America Online. The new name was subsequently abbreviated to AOL in 2006.
Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spice was first established in 1971, but Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ CEO, left the company to start his own chain of coffeehouses selling Starbucks coffee under the name of Il Giornale. Just a few years later, he acquired the original business and decided to revive the Starbucks name.
In 1995, Pierre Omidyar sat down to write a code that would eventually become eBay. But before it became the shopping success we all know so well, it was first called AuctionWeb, which began with the listing of a single broken laser pointer. AuctionWeb soon went on to take over Pierre’s entire domain, ebay.com (short for Echo Bay), which was the name of his consulting firm at the time.
The Hertz car rental service was founded by Walter L. Jacobs in 1918, before being sold to John Hertz in 1923, when it was called Hertz Drive-Ur-Self System. The company was later bought by Omnibus Corporation before taking on its new and shortened name – The Hertz Corporation.
Federal Express, launched by Yale Graduate Fred Smith in 1965, was designed to do exactly what it still does: deliver urgent, time-sensitive shipments across the world. In 1994 the company officially adopted FedEx as its new brand name, with the aim of being recognised as the worldwide standard for a fast delivery service.
Steve Jobs’ tech sensation was originally called Apple Computers when founded in 1976, but after years of success, the entrepreneur announced he would drop ‘Computer’ from the name in order to be inclusive of a wider product range, such as the iPod, Apple TV and iPhone.
In 2005, Dime Bar became Daim in the UK. While the pronounciation didn't change at all, the altered spelling reflected the chocolate's branding in the rest of Europe where the bar had been Daim since the 90s. In fact, when first launched in Sweden and Norway in the 50s it was called Dajm.
A go-to lubricant the world over, K-Y Jelly has been around for 116 years as has its name, but not for much longer, in the UK at least. Thornton & Ross, which produces the product in Huddersfield, is pressing ahead with a rebrand and changing the name to Kynect to reflect the company's "freedom to connect" ethos and appeal to so-called "sex neglectors": 30-plus people with little time for intimacy.