Brand Names

The warehouse I work in does natural, organic, and specialty food. That means there’s a lot of ethnic/imported foods, a lot of kosher foods, and a lot of brands that I wasn’t familiar with before working there. One that I ran across the other day is called Autocrat Coffee. I did an actual double take when I read the label. Who would decide to name their brand Autocrat?

Then, a bit of self-doubt crept in. Maybe autocrat doesn’t mean what I think it means. So, I looked it up. There are two definitions given for autocrat, “1. a ruler who has absolute power. 2. someone who insists on complete obedience from others; an imperious or domineering person.” I wasn’t wrong. An autocrat is a dictator. Franco was the example given when I looked it up. Every one of the synonyms is pretty evil. So, why would a coffee company decide to associate their brand with evil?

I don’t know the answer to that question, but it got me thinking and I realized that they’re not the only company with a bizarre name. Before it was a clothing store, a banana republic was, “a politically unstable country with an economy dependent upon the exportation of a limited-resource product, such as bananas or minerals.” Who pitched that? And how many bars out there are called The Pour House? I get the pun, but why would anybody want to go to the poorhouse?

I just think it’s a weird phenomenon. If I were starting a business, I’d want positive connotations with the name. Maybe I’m overthinking it.

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