The following is an article from The Best of The Best of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.
Product names don't necessarily reflect the
truth of the products. Ever heard of Corinthian Leather? Think New Jersey,
not Corinth, Greece. How about Häagen Dazs? Nothing Scandinavian
about it. Read on to find out how a product's name can deceive you ...
Sounds Like: Fancy leather from some exotic place in
Europe - specifically, the Greek city of Corinth. The phrase "rich
Corinthian leather" was made famous by actor Ricardo Montalban, in
ads for Chrysler's luxury Cardoba in the 1970s. (The seats were covered
The Truth: There's no such thing as Corinthian leather.
The term was made up by Chrysler's ad agency. The leather reportedly came
from New Jersey.
Like: An imported Scandinavian product.
The Truth: It was created by Ruben Mattus, a Polish
immigrant who sold ice cream in New York City, who used what the New
York Times called the "Vichyssoise Strategy":
Vichyssoise is a native New Yorker. Created at the Ritz Carlton
in 1917, it masqueraded as a French soup and enjoyed enormous success.
When Mattus created his ice cream, he used the same tactic ... He was
not the first to think Americans would be willing to pay more for a
better product. But he was the first to understand that they would be
more likely to do so if they thought it was foreign. So he made up a
ridiculous, impossible to pronounce name, [and] printed a map of Scandinavia
on the carton.
The ice cream was actually made in Teaneck, New Jersey.
JELL-O PUDDING POPS
Sounds Like: There's pudding in the pops.
The Truth: There isn't. Family secret: One of Uncle
John's relatives was involved with test-marketing the product several
decades ago. When John asked him about it, he laughed, "Our research
shows people think that if it says 'pudding' on the label, it's better
quality or better for you. They're wrong. It's really the same."
Anyway, we suppose that's why they still sell it with "pudding"
on the label.
PACIFIC RIDGE PALE ALE
Like: A small independent brewer in Northern California. The
Brewmasters Gery Eckman [and] Mitch Steele ... always wanted to
brew a special ale in Northern California just for California beer drinkers
... so they created Pacific Ridge Pale Ale. It's produced in limited
quantities, using fresh Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest, two-row
and caramel malts and a special ale yeast for a rich copper color ...
Handcrafted only at the Fairfield brewhouse.
The Truth: In tiny letters on the bottle, it says: "Specialty
Brewing group of Anheuser-Busch, Inc., Fairfield, California."
SWEET'N LOW SODA
Sounds Like: The drink was sweetened with nothing but
The Truth: As Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo write in The
Misfortune 500, "MBC Beverage, Inc.", which licensed the
Sweet'N Low name ... discovered that consumers wanted the natural sweetener
NutraSweet rather than the artificial saccharine of Sweet'N Low. So they
sweetened Sweet'N Low soda with NutraSweet, a Sweet'N Low competitor."
Like: "A folksy brand of cigarette, produced by a down-to-earth,
tractor-driving guy named Dave for ordinary people who work hard and make
an honest living." According to humorist Dave Barry, here's the story
sent to the media when the cigarettes were introduced in 1996:
Down in Concord, N.C., there's a guy named Dave. He lives in the
heart of tobacco farmland. Dave enjoys lots of land, plenty of freedom
and his yellow '57 pickup truck. Dave was fed up with cheap, fast-burning
smokes. Instead of just getting made, he did something about it ...
Dave's Tobacco Company was born.
The Truth: Dave's was a creation of America's biggest
cigarette corporation, Philip Morris, whose ad agency unapologetically
called the story a "piece of fictional imagery."
The article above is reprinted with permission from The
Best of the Best of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.
The Bathroom Reader Institute handpicked the most eye-opening, rib-tickling,
and mind-boggling articles from everything they have written
over the last ten years and carefully crammed them into 576 pages of the
Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute has published a series of popular
books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure
yet fascinating facts. Check out their website here: Bathroom