Name Game #8: Name That Brand

By Laurel Sutton

July 13, 2011

The Name Game has stumped even the savviest brand experts. See if you can guess the famous company or product name described in each game below.

5 clues. 1 famous brand name. 0 shame in defeat.

Game #8: Name That Brand

  • Where Stratford lies
  • Jockey Club and Heliotrope
  • You can read it in a backward star
  • Close call
  • Mrs. Albee

[EXPAND Click through for the answer…] Answer #8: Avon

Originally named the California Perfume Company, Avon is the most successful door-to-door sales organization ever. The history of Avon dates back to 1886 and a 16-year-old door-to-door book salesman named D.H. McConnell.

As a prelude to his sales pitch, D.H. would present each housewife with a vial of perfume he had made and packaged himself. He soon learned that the perfume was in greater demand than the books, and thus was born the California Perfume Company, named for a friend who lived in California and provided initial investment support.

Convinced that door-to-door perfume sales (Clue #4, in-person sales calls) would be an ideal way for women to help earn money for their families, D.H. hired his first representative, Mrs. Albee (Clue #5). Soon after, D.H. had nearly a score of fragrances in his portfolio, including Jockey Club and Heliotrope (Clue #2), two of the most popular.

D.H. later changed the name of the company to Avon (Clue #3 – “nova” backward spells “Avon”), in honor of his favorite playwright, William Shakespeare, and Shakespeare’s birthplace Stratford-on-Avon (Clue #1). However, the change in name was as much a strategic move as a sentimental one – D.H. was expanding his product portfolio to include baking powder, olive oil and other household items, and the name California Perfume was too limiting.

Today, Avon is the largest direct-selling company in the world, with over 3 million sales representatives across 139 countries, and $5 billion in revenues.[/EXPAND]

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