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Branding

What’s In A Name?

By September 22, 2009July 22nd, 20204 Comments

Anyone that has read this blog for long knows that I’m not a morning person; I’m typically worthless until about 10 AM. So, with that as our backdrop, let me take you on my drive to work this morning.I stop at a convenience store on the way to the office. As I turn into the parking lot, I take notice of this large, white panel van in the space next to mine. Something is strange about the logo plastered on its side, but I can’t place it right away. Maybe it’s the coconut-covered, zombie-chef Snuggle Bear they used as a mascot? No, that’s not it. It’s not a bad design job, so what could it be?

Bimbo. Yes, really.I let the question bounce around in my cavernous mind while I saunter to the coffee island. Then, during my blank stare into the non-dairy creamers, it hits me. That logo, roughly 30 square feet of vinyl plastered on the side of that truck, represents a company named “Bimbo”. Now I’m not sure where you’re reading this from, but in my neck of the woods, a “bimbo” is a word commonly used to describe a terribly vaccuous woman. Personally, I think that stupidity is blind to gender. It took me a long time to realize what I had read, which made me feel like a bit of, well, you guessed it.

I head out, with coffee in hand, and take another look at the side of the truck. The driver takes notice and we briefly make eye contact. Nervous, I point at the side and the truck and giggle “heh, Bimbo.” Feeling a lot like Beavis & Butthead, I quietly get into my car and take off.

Back at the office, I look the company up and see that it’s a pretty big deal. Bimbo Bakeries, USA is the largest baker is the US and parent company of Boboli, Entenmann’s, Thomas’ English Muffins and a number of other successful brands. This leaves me to wonder how a name like that has slipped under the radar of our collective consciousness, or am I really that immature at 8:30 AM?

Patrick King

Patrick King

Patrick is the Founder of Imagine and advisor to places on brand strategy and creative. His insights have been published in Inc. Magazine, SmartCEO, Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, and Chief Marketer, among other publications, and shared at conferences throughout the US. He also has an amazing sock collection.

4 Comments

  • Blimey I wouldn’t want to be a woman (especially a blonde) working for that company. Too easy a target for jokes!

    This all just goes to show it’s a BIG world and everything is out there!

    Stephen
    http://www.edenchanges.com

  • Hitzel says:

    Just to kind of clarify this info, BIMBO is a the largest bakery company in Mexico and Latin America, having the 90% osf share market, perhaps to your country is totally unusual, but if you asked any persons from this countries, they surely will tell you who they are. I agree that the name is not as great as the company, but people do loves this little bear.

  • Reigneer says:

    In Mexico and Latin America, the word, “Bimbo” does not mean anything bad. It’s just known for the baked goods. I think (not sure) the company started in either Mexico or somewhere in Latin America. So, the company name was chosen without the founders’ knowledge of what the word means in the US (or maybe they did). However, you may recall a similar scenario involving a US made car that never sold well in spanish speaking countries. General Motors named a car, “Nova” and tried selling it in spanish speaking countries. The problem was “Nova” in spanish means, “does not go (no va).”

  • Hello Patrick!

    You are always good for a laugh. Thanks for brightening my day a little. Too funny!

    Best,

    Barbara

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