Do you really know your favourite brands’ history as well as you think you do ?

Test you knowledge thanks to the second part of the True or False series.



The first Starbucks opened in 1971 in Chicago. One of the 3 founders, Gordon Bowker, who had once been a writer before making a career as a businessman, wanted to name the place Pequod, after the hot-air balloon in Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. But another founder, Terry Hecker firmly opposed this idea. Hecker, a big fan of the Battlestar Galactica series, proposed the name Starbucks, after the Lieutenant Starbuck, a character of the series. As you might have guessed, his proposition won.

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False. The first Starbucks coffee opened in 1971 in Seattle. One of the 3 founders, Gordon Bowker, who had once been a writer before making a career as a businessman, proposed the name Starbucks after a character in Melville’s famous novel, Moby Dick. As legend goes, Bowker, wanted to name the place Pequod, after the ship in Moby Dick, but Terry Hecker opposed this idea. Eventually, they settled on Starbucks, which incidentally evokes Starbo, a locality near Seattle.



In 1907, a customer asked Armand Wermer, a young Alsatian hairdresser, to create for her a blond dye that wouldn’t damage her hair (at the time, most dye contained ammoniac, a harmful component which was damaging to hair). After much research, Armand Wermer created the very first synthetic hair dye; he named it Boréale, partly because women who used it would become as beautiful as Aurora Borealis, partly because it sounded like “beau” (French for “beautiful”) and “réel” (real). In 1911 he patented the formula and changed its name to L’Oréal deemed easier on the ear. At first only intended as a brand name, L’Oréal went on to become the name of the whole company.

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False. In 1907, a young French chemist of Alsatian ascent, Eugène Schueller, is asked by a hairdresser to create the first synthetic hair dye. He succeeds and names the product L’Auréale, after L’Auréole, a popular female hairdo at the time. In 1909, Eugène founds the “Société française des teintures inoffensives pour cheveux” (“French Society for Harmless Hair Dye”) and changes the name of his popular formula from L’Auréale to L’Oréal, which went on to become the name of the whole company.



In the 90’s, accounting firm Arthur Andersen and its business and technology consulting division start encountering problems due to difference of opinion on several matters. In 2000, they agree to go their separate ways. From then on, Arthur Andersen Consulting, the business and technology consulting division, is in need of a new name to mark its independence from its parent company. An employee from the Norwegian subsidiary in Oslo comes up with Accenture which stands for “Accent on the Future”. The name quickly wins over the seniors and the whole process doesn’t last more than 3 months.

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The Carrefour group was founded in Quercy (a province located in the southwest of France). In 1959, Marcel Fournier, son of a local baker, inherits his father’s bakery. Not really interested in becoming a baker, Marcel turns the bakery into a convenience store. In tribute to his father, he calls the store Carrefour, from cara which means “house” in the local dialect, and four, “oven”, a reference to the bread oven. Carrefour therefore means the [bread] oven house.

The stored prospered and other stores opened all across the country. Nowadays, Carrefour owns supermarkets all over the world.

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False. In 1959, Marcel Fournier, decides to open a grocery store in his haberdashery basement. In 1960, he partners with his suppliers, Denis and Jacques Defforey, to open a supermarket in suburban Annecy (Haute-Savoie) at a crossroad (“carrefour” in French).