Branding back in the day

by Jimmy Smith

Naming a brand in the 19th century

The 19th century was a funny old time. You couldn’t really trust much of what you were buying, not least the food stuff. It was full of daft ideas like putting copper in your bread and butter to give it a richer colour. It’s not unsurprising that some companies decided to start branding their products to help them gain a better quality reputation.

  • Putting your name on it

    Some folk decided they were going to put their name on their products as a mark of quality. To this day brands such as Kellogg’s, Colman’s and Bird’s have retained the same name all these years later.

  • Naming with an ‘o’

    Bizarrely enough it became a trend to define a new brand by putting an ‘o’ in the name. People became familier with the naming style and associated it with something they could trust. Sounds odd but the likes of OXO, Brillo, Polo and Bisto are still brand names that have built up such a good rep, they’re just as relevant today.

  • Something more desirable

    It might seem obvious now, but having the idea to call your soap something more interesting and desirable like Sunlight Soap to give it more appeal amongst a busy market was quite a forward thinking idea from the Lever Brothers.

  • Celebrity endorsement


    It was in the 19th century that you started to get ‘celebrity’ endorsement in brands, so manufacturers would name their products after famous people — like Oakey’s Wellington Stove Polish, named after hero of the battle of Waterloo – The Duke of Wellington.

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