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The Fake Company Everyone’s Heard Of
If you grew up watching cartoons, you know this company.
The Acme Corporation is the organization perhaps best known as Wile E. Coyote’s go-to supplier of anvils, rockets, ray guns and more.
Acme is basically the animated Amazon. In the Looney Tunes universe, it sells everything.
Adweek recently called the company “the most famous brand that never was.” It’s been in video games, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and countless cartoons. There’s even a feature film coming — Coyote vs. Acme.
The fictional company borrowed its name from countless real-world Acme organizations. Why is the name so popular?
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not an acronym for “A Company Making Everything.” The real answer has to do with the Yellow Pages.
In the 1920s, more and more consumers were using phone directories to find businesses. They didn’t have to let their fingers walk very far to find a company that started with “A.” What’s more, “acme” comes from the Greek meaning “peak” or “prime.” For many companies, rebranding to a word that meant “best” that started with “ac” was a no-brainer.
More and more organizations across industries adopted the Acme name, making it the perfect stand-in for the faceless cartoon conglomerate that sold everything from dynamite to dehydrated boulders.
Few people use the Yellow Pages anymore, but that focus on alphabetical exposure isn’t as antiquated as you might think. Early on, Amazon changed its name from Cadabra in order to show up higher on alphabetized website listings.
Today, organizations are as focused as ever on showing up first in customer searches, though Google’s search algorithms consider more than alphabetical order.
Yet the basic principle remains. From SEO to booth placement at an industry conference, marketing is all about making it easy for potential customers to find you. Good marketing is about making sure you have a unique, compelling story to tell once you have their attention.