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September 26, 2019
Household Name will be back with brand new episodes soon! But in the meantime, check out "Lost at the Smithsonian," a new podcast from Stitcher. Comedian and pop culture fanatic Aasif Mandvi gets up close and personal with the most iconic artifacts at the National Museum of American History. Sign up for our newsletter Subscribe to "Lost at the Smithsonian" in Apple Podcasts CORRECTION: An earlier version of this episode misstated the name of Jim Henson, the creator of "The Muppets."
June 12, 2019
When a small town in Texas changed its name to DISH, the satellite TV company gave its residents free TV for a decade. What DISH Network didn’t know was that the name change was a way for one local politician to get revenge on another. PLUS: we take to the phones and answer your questions on our Customer Service line. Sign up for our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FIXysC
June 5, 2019
Enron collapsed nearly 20 years ago, but chances are something you use today was affected by emails sent by 150 of the company’s top employees. These emails — about meetings and energy markets but also affairs, divorces, and fraud — have helped create new technologies, fight terrorism, and added to our understanding of how we communicate. But should these emails have been released in the first place? PLUS: “Uncut” reveals Enron’s former CFO’s second act. Sign up for our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FIXysC
May 29, 2019
Was Atari’s E.T. video game the worst of all time? Did it sink the entire video game industry in the early 1980s? Did Atari really bury thousands of copies in a New Mexico desert to cover it up? We dig into the old legend and uncover some answers. Sign up for our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FIXysC
May 22, 2019
We have two stories this week: first, the surprising history "elevator music." Turns out, Muzak was a real company. And then we reveal how much Amazon's Alexa and other smart speakers are really listening — and remembering what we do and say. Sign up for our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FIXysC
May 15, 2019
In the 1970s, the Oakland A’s were the most bonkers team in baseball. They had bright yellow and green uniforms, iconic handlebar mustaches, and a live donkey for a mascot. It was an eccentric owner's way of getting attention. But those gimmicks didn't win fans in Oakland. Instead, they started a generation of fights between fans and owners, until both sides learned that success in Oakland means embracing Oakland.  Sign up for our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FIXysC
May 1, 2019
Back in 2014, Bill Nye The Science Guy was skeptical of genetically modified foods, or GMOs. It raised some eyebrows when he abruptly changed his mind after visiting Monsanto - the huge biochemical agriculture company that was acquired by Bayer. What changed his mind on the trip? Are GMOs good or bad? Plus: in our Customer Service segment, how Vicks VapoRub became a much-loved "cure-all." Sign up for our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FIXysC
April 24, 2019
Companies spend a lot of time and effort perfecting the look of their brands. But now what a brand sounds like matters just as much. We trace the history from songs to jingles to what's called sonic branding, following the creative process that led to AT&T’s iconic four-note sound logo. And we'll explore what comes next: multi-sensory marketing. Can sound change how beer tastes? Sign up for our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FIXysC
April 17, 2019
Some brands aren’t cool no matter how hard they try. Others start out cool, but lose their cachet over time. Then there are the brands that somehow, surprisingly turn cool. Without really changing their products, LaCroix, Canada Goose, and Carhartt became the hottest things around. How did that happen? Sign up for our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FIXysC
April 10, 2019
For decades, two men at Victoria's Secret have had immense power. One built the chain into a powerhouse. The other ran the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, handpicking the models called "angels." Then many started to question its standards of beauty. So what happens when the company won't change? PLUS: Why is there a company called Big Ass Fans? Sign up for our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FIXysC
April 3, 2019
Harley-Davidson spent more than a century branding its motorcycles as the bikes for rebels and macho cowboys. They’re made in America, for Americans. But Harley’s core customers are aging and before long will die out. Younger generations aren't stepping up to take their place. If it wants to keep selling motorcycles, Harley-Davidson is going to have to look outside the U.S. for new buyers, and become a little less American in the process. But that isn't sitting well with its customer base. PLUS: One listener tells us about the Honda Civic that brought her and her husband together. Sign up for our newsletter: https://bit.ly/2FIXysC
February 27, 2019
Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin always figured razor companies convinced women to start shaving. But when they looked into it, they discovered the question of why women shave is much more complicated than they thought. The answer involves painted on nylons, some deadly rat poison, and a war that changed everything.
February 20, 2019
The Volkswagen Beetle is a symbol of peace, love, and harmony. It’s also a product of Nazi Germany. The story of how the Beetle transformed from Hitler’s car to the Love Bug involves a British army major and a surprising team of advertisers.
February 13, 2019
Danielle wanted a copy of "Pride and Prejudice," so she clicked the top result on Amazon. The book that came in the mail was too big with type that was too small. The introduction was laughable. The story of how this book came to be took us halfway around the world.
February 6, 2019
In the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII, Apple ran a commercial that changed the Super Bowl and Apple forever. But it almost never aired. Featuring original interviews with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, former CEO John Sculley, and the ad's creators, this is the story of Steve Jobs vs the board, a scary casting call involving actual skinheads and a highly skilled discus thrower, plus a legacy that defined Apple and its users for decades. Read more at www.businessinsider.com/1984
January 30, 2019
Less than a decade after Martha Stewart left prison, she was in court again. It was a three-way fight between Martha, Macy's, and JCPenney that could have played out in a middle school cafeteria. And the fight raised an intriguing question: What exactly is a store? PLUS: One listener tells us why Scrubbing Bubbles was banned from her home. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this episode misstated the current owner of bathroom cleaner Scrubbing Bubbles. It is S.C. Johnson & Son, not Johnson & Johnson.
January 23, 2019
For years, Crocs were ridiculed as America’s ugliest shoes. The’ve been called “pock-faced,” “plastic hoofs,” and the “garden gnome of fashion.” But now, they're actual fashion, thanks to some help from top name designers and celebrities. Crocs are in. How did that happen? PLUS: Are Crocs edible?
January 16, 2019
What happens when a restaurant chain tries a bold experiment that tests human nature? If you ask customers to pay what they want for a sandwich, will they help others in need? PLUS: Customer Service tackles "genericide.” It happened to the Elevator.
December 19, 2018
How did Colonel Sanders and Kentucky Fried Chicken take over Christmas in Japan? PLUS: Household Name Uncut covers some Christmas decorating gone horribly wrong and the curse of the colonel.
November 28, 2018
Look a little angry? Accused of having a “resting bitch face”? Now, there’s a drug for that: Botox. The early joke about Botox was that it froze faces. But increasingly, people are seeking a different effect: actually altering their expressions, and maybe even their emotions. We trace the story from the discovery that the deadliest toxin on earth could make a face look less “troubled,” to a feminist professor’s Botox investigation that turns personal.
November 21, 2018
Butterball turkey experts have been answering your burning turkey questions since 1981. This week, we hear from the turkey talkers about the wildest calls and how to pull off a “perfect” Thanksgiving dinner. Then listeners call into our own Turkey Talk-Line to tell us about the surprising Thanksgivings they’ve spent at fast food restaurants.
November 14, 2018
We don’t think of most government agencies as brands, but NASA is different. This year is the space agency’s 60th anniversary, so we're diving into NASA’s brand history to bring you little-known stories about a meatball and a worm, some astronauts with gastrointestinal issues, and a middle schooler’s mission to send chickens into space.
November 7, 2018
When a disaster hits the South, chances are the local Waffle House will be back open in no time. The 24-hour breakfast chain is so good at responding to storms that FEMA uses it to determine where to deploy disaster aid. How does Waffle House get up and running so quickly? PLUS: Customer Service takes on Heinz and the mystery of the 57 Varieties.
October 31, 2018
Before Sears filed for bankruptcy, it was run by a reclusive billionaire who'd call into meetings from his mansion on a Florida island. It was one of the unusual ways Eddie Lampert ran the department store chain. He also stopped investing in the stores. The CEO had outwitted kidnappers, and many thought he was defying skeptics on Wall Street, too. This is the story of how Sears stayed alive so long, and how it all fell apart.
October 24, 2018
Once upon a time, gangs roamed Disneyland in biker vests. They swarmed rides. They got in fights. Or so we thought… The real story is kind of a classic Disney fairy tale: about a princess and her merry band of friends. But is there a happily ever after?
October 17, 2018
This year, Tesla's image took a hit. The company fell behind on production targets, reports came out that it may be skipping safety tests and making mistakes on the production line, creating more waste. It didn't help that Elon Musk smoked weed on a podcast, attacked a diver rescuing the Thai soccer team, and got sued by the SEC. At the same time, a guy near Boston taught himself how to bring damaged Teslas back to life, and in doing so, he revealed a lot of the cars' flaws. Now the question is: will Tesla support him or stop him?
October 3, 2018
Amway is a multi-level marketing company: the structure is triangular, but don't call it a pyramid scheme. The Federal Trade Commission already tried and failed. Now, hundreds of MLMs like Amway are embedded in America's towns and cities, and in the highest offices in government. So how did this happen?
September 26, 2018
The Macy's at Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia closed its doors for good a year ago. Then, the whole mall shut down. The empty department store become a homeless shelter. And a woman who once worked there, found herself sleeping there.
September 19, 2018
We go on a mission to find out why there are so many Mattress Firm stores. How do they end up next door and across the street from each other? Are the mattresses full of money? Reddit users started a conspiracy theory, so we teamed up with WBUR and Reddit’s Endless Thread podcast to put these questions to bed. If you like Household Name, please take a moment to leave a rating and review of Household Name on Apple Podcasts. It really helps people find the show. And if you have feedback, send it to householdname@businessinsider.com.
September 12, 2018
Allie Rowbottom's life is built on a Jell-O fortune, just like it was for the lives of her mother and her grandmother. But along with the wealth from America's most famous dessert, there came a curse. Now the most recent heir to the Jell-O fortune, Allie tries to make sense of her family history, and all the strange ways Jell-O showed up in their lives. In the process, she learns what the curse means to her. PLUS: Household Name Uncut on all the weird things we used to put in Jell-O molds. Allie Rowbottom is the author of The Jell-O Girls, A family history, which you can find here, or at your favorite bookstore.
September 5, 2018
There's a Brooks Brothers store across the street from the World Trade Center in New York. Shortly after the attacks on September 11, a young doctor named Sandeep Jauhar headed to ground zero to help. He ended up at the store, which was transformed into a makeshift morgue. Suddenly, he’s put in charge, which was the last thing he wanted. This is a story of ties and white collared shirts, and how heroism is often improvised.
August 29, 2018
A Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks is the perfect accessory for the "basic bitch." But why? We dive into the PSL's origin story, and trace Starbucks’ route from elitist to basic. PLUS: Product Misplacement with Jean Edelstein.
August 22, 2018
Not many Presidents can say they got their start driving soda trucks around their country. Mexico’s former President Vicente Fox can, though. We find out what role Coca-Cola played in his rise to power, and investigate Coke’s unprecedented domination in Mexico. PLUS: Customer Service takes on Ikea.
August 15, 2018
Trader Joe’s "Two-Buck Chuck" is the wine that got many of us through college. But when we found out that “Chuck” – or Charles Shaw – is a real guy, we had to know more. Turns out the real Charles Shaw has a wild winemaking past full of gambles, heartbreak, and cruel ironies. PLUS: Product Misplacement with Mindy Eskow.
August 8, 2018
How has Blockbuster Video survived against the odds so long in Alaska, and what will its decline mean? Before the world’s last Blockbuster stores disappear forever, we pay them a visit on the last frontier to find out.
August 1, 2018
When Pizza Hut can’t get anyone to buy their new Stuffed Crust Pizza, help comes from an unlikely pair: Donald and Ivana Trump. We hear the behind the scenes making of this ad, and in turn, the making of a president. PLUS: Our first installment of Uncut with Household Name's producers.
July 25, 2018
You wouldn’t know it from the tired decor at TGI Fridays today, but this family restaurant has a sexy past. It was once a game-changing singles bar, which arrived on the cusp of the sexual revolution. We go back to the 60s and 70s to experience the original Fridays, and find out how it has changed the way we meet, date and marry.
July 17, 2018
Business Insider is teaming up with Stitcher to bring you surprising stories behind the brands we all know, whether we love them or loathe them. Host Dan Bobkoff will change the way you think about Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays, Starbucks, and dozens of other household name brands. Household Name premiers July 25. Subscribe now!
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