Today we bring you this article that demonstrates how choosing a bad name can affect your sales. WHEN YOU THINK OF DARK sandwich-like cookies with a creamy white center, you probably think of Oreos, in part because Nabisco is so good at marketing. But if you take a look off to the side in the grocery store, you might see one brand in particular that, in fact, was invented four years before Oreos—a cookie brand that looks remarkably similar. That brand would be Hydrox, the second banana of the cookie aisle, which these days simply can’t compete against the marketing juggernaut that is Oreo, even if it did get a bit of a head start.
The problem, you might’ve guessed, is its name. In 1882, the entrepreneur Jacob Loose bought a biscuit and candy company that would eventually be known as Sunshine Biscuits (after the company’s baking plant designs) and, in 1908, launched the biscuit sandwich known as Hydrox. The name, they thought, would be reminiscent of the sunlight that glimmered through its factories, in addition to speaking to a basic purity of product.
The truth was a bit more complicated, however. Intended to imply hydrogen and oxygen—the two chemicals that make up water—the result has a more clinical, less roll-off-the-tongue convention to it, and instead evokes hydrogen peroxide, a chemical you probably don’t want to drink. And it didn’t help that that there was an existing Hydrox Chemical Company on the market, one that sold hydrogen peroxide and was caught up in a trademark lawsuit at the time over the use of the word “hydrox”—a lawsuit that noted the term was used for coolers, for soda, even for brands of ice cream.