Coca Cola, Chek Cola, or Rally Cola?: Laurel Sutton’s Store Brand Naming Article


I was delighted that I was asked to contribute a paper to the volume entitled “Onomastics in Contemporary Public Space“. It gave me the chance to research and write about one of my favorite topics, the naming of store brands. We’ve had a bit of experience here at Catchword with store brands, including coming up with my favorite, Dr. Bob (a Dr. Pepper clone).

In researching this paper, I was surprised to see that the kind of copycat naming we see so much of in store brands goes back quite a long way. In 1909,  the U.S. government investigated a number of (potentially harmful) food and drug products on the market, and listed all the cola brands then available. Check out some of the names:

  • Afri Cola
  • Cafe Cola
  • Coca Beta
  • Cola Coke
  • Four Kola
  • Kola Kola
  • Nerv Ola
  • Rocola
  • Standard Cola
  • Tokola

It’s worth noting that at the time, all of the above drinks contained both caffeine and coca leaf extract. Whee!

Look for an excerpt of that paper in an upcoming blog. If you want to read the whole thing now, you’ll have to buy the book!


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