podcast cover

Household Name

Business Insider & Stitcher

+13 FANS
These are the surprising stories behind our biggest, household name brands. Host Dan Bobkoff finds tales of tragedy, love, strange histories, unintended consequences, and accidental success. And in each episode, we find out how these brands changed o...Show More
Best
Newest

41:39 | Jun 5th

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 creat...Show More

36:49 | Apr 10th

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. ...Show More

46:16 | Jun 12th

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 ...Show More

34:44 | May 29th

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. S...Show More

37:06 | May 22nd

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 u...Show More

37:37 | May 15th

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...Show More

37:21 | May 1st

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...Show More

34:30 | Apr 24th

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 t...Show More

37:11 | Apr 17th

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, La Croix, Canada Goose, and Carhartt ...Show More

36:31 | Apr 3rd

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 stepp...Show More

35:42 | Feb 27th

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 o...Show More

37:43 | Feb 20th

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.

36:02 | Feb 13th

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 a...Show More

37:42 | Feb 6th

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 creato...Show More

35:52 | Jan 30th

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 exac...Show More

34:23 | Jan 23rd

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 i...Show More

35:04 | Jan 16th

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.

43:35 | Dec 19th, 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.

37:22 | Nov 28th, 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 ...Show More

35:14 | Nov 21st, 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 Ta...Show More

41:25 | Nov 14th, 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 wi...Show More

37:51 | Nov 7th, 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 ...Show More

36:15 | Oct 31st, 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 stor...Show More

34:52 | Oct 24th, 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 aft...Show More

37:40 | Oct 17th, 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 ...Show More

35:55 | Oct 3rd, 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 ...Show More

36:50 | Sep 26th, 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.

37:09 | Sep 19th, 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 R...Show More

39:22 | Sep 12th, 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, A...Show More

36:16 | Sep 5th, 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 i...Show More

37:32 | Aug 29th, 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.

37:00 | Aug 22nd, 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...Show More

34:48 | Aug 15th, 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, hear...Show More

35:45 | Aug 8th, 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.

41:27 | Aug 1st, 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 Un...Show More

36:00 | Jul 25th, 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 o...Show More

01:46 | Jul 17th, 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 oth...Show More