I’ve used WD_ 40 as a must have element in my box of tricks in the car boot, since I was 21 and living in Europe in colder and damper climates. I never once knew nor then cared, what WD stood for until today. All I knew was this product worked on spark plugs in my old “jalopy” ( a student’s name for a car that ran more on prayer than by design!)
This week everyone is sharing on Facebook the other wonderful 43 plus usages of WD_40 . The photo share story made very enlightening and fun reading, but when you visit the home page of WD_40 there are 200o plus uses and tips. The mind boggles!
However, I started pondering about the creation of the name which was long before Naming, Marketing and Branding agencies became popular or were even employed to come “in-house” to dream up this magical name.
In fact it has been around before I was even born (just!). This is a penetrating lubricant type oil as every car mechanic will vouch for it to repel water and rust and invented by Norm Larsenin 1953. But what was the company called way back then? Rocket Chemical Company – but they were not in the creation of rockets. So what does
WD-40 stand for? Water Displacement 40th Formula and that is a mouthful and was quickly trademarked as simply and very effectively as WD_40.
The interesting factor for us Namiacs is when the product name overtakes the company name. WD_40 became so strong it swamped the original Company’s name . In actual fact the Company’s name was never referred to by its proper name. People assumed that the product and the company name was one and the same entity.
So John Barry had the foresight as the CEO in 1969 to change the Rocket Chemical Company to be WD_40 and they have never looked back. The brand and the Company is as strong as ever.
Who says initials don’t work conjunctively with Company and Product trademark as the same one, not bad when the main ingredient of WD_40 is fish oil!