Getting lost in fictional company names

By Alex Kelley

October 26, 2016

Hello everyone – writing this blog post from deep in the annals of film history. Check out this catalogue of company and product names from movies and TV shows!

I learned a lot about the movie industry on this website – for example, some of the most popular pages are for brand names or company names that appear in many different movies because they are simply props made by a specific studio that get recycled time and again at shoots in that studio. Let’s Potato Chips for one, is in a few TV shows like Community, Orange is the New Black, 2 Broke Girls, Sons of Anarchy, and others. Morley Cigarettes can be seen everywhere from Friends to Psycho to The Twilight Zone and X-Files.

Oceanic Airlines

Courtesy of Mitsjolicon, via www.wikia.com

Further, sometimes a fake company name is used in stock footage, and that percolates through movies and TV shows that draw from the same footage, like Oceanic Airlines. The brand first appeared in stock footage in the 90s, bounced around before being given an updated logo for the TV show Lost, and since then, many other shows have used the updated logo as an homage to Lost.

Some of the fictional company names and product names are fun and random – Spacely Space Sprockets, Inc, and rival Cogswell Cogs from The Jetsons are two of my favorites. But many are parodies – humorous or sinister – of specific industries. Bringing it back to real-world naming, a safe rule of thumb is, if you are considering a company name that sounds like it could be a generic company in your industry from a movie, or a parody of a certain industry’s style, reconsider! Names like EnCom Computer Corporation, or Union Aerospace Corporation or Massive Dynamic have no character – that’s why they work as generic, fake company names. (And often the more generic the names are, like the examples given, the more sinister they are depicted in film, because the names suggest a totally faceless corporation. We really don’t want that!)

Courtesy of Mitsjolicon via Wikia.com

Courtesy of Mitsijocon via www.Wikia.com

 

And if you think Let’s Potato Chips would fly in real life…Sorry! While movies and TV shows can skirt trademark law like this, actual companies cannot. That’s why we do a preliminary trademark screen on the name finalists we present.

Enjoy these fictional company and product names, and learn from them. Then, if you’re ready to tackle a naming project IRL, give us a shout!

Hello everyone – writing this blog post from deep in the annals of film history.  Check out this catalogue of company and product names from movies and TV shows!

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