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7 Horrifying Historical Origins of Famous Corporate Logos

#3. HTC Droid Eris

Via Letsgomobile.org

The Symbol Is Used For:

A line of smartphones.


A line that was evidently extremely proud of its clock feature.

But the Symbol Actually Means:

The goddess of frustration.

Cellphones seem to be named by the same people who name cars. They either get totally made-up words (Razr) or vaguely sci-fi sounding ones (Galaxy) or, in this case, names that sound like video game characters (Eris).


"Introducing the Verizon Sonic. Because video games are things."

The Droid Eris was the first smartphone that Verizon Wireless carried, and like a lot of modern smartphones, it boasted a lot of cool sounding features like "sense" and "multi-touch," none of which matter more than the all-important "having some goddamn service" feature which, unfortunately, it didn't have.

And that's why the name is so unintentionally fitting -- Eris was actually the Greek goddess of discord, frustration, rivalry and strife. She's known for fucking up weddings and starting the Trojan War by throwing an apple inscribed with the words "To the fairest" onto a table full of Greek gods and saying "You guys can probably sort that out."

Via Wikipedia
We hear Lowell McAdam has hooked feet.

So she's basically the Greek symbol for massive inconvenience, which makes sense when you're fumbling with your too-fat fingers over a smudgy touch screen that cracks if you so much as cast a shadow on it. Though originally the phone was called the HTC Hero, Verizon changed the name when they agreed to provide support for it. It seems almost like someone was trying to warn us.

#2. The Symbol of Medicine, Caduceus

The Symbol Is Used For:

Medical institutions the world over.

Photos.com
"Well, four breast exams in one day seems a little excessive, but you're the doctor."

But the Symbol Actually Means:

Deceit and profit.

You're probably at least passingly aware of the universal symbol of doctors and medicine, but when you saw it on the back of an ambulance, you likely didn't know what the hell two snakes and a pair of wings had to do with either:

Photos.com
But you were pretty sure that if you rolled at least a 12, you'd resist its poison.

The answer is not a lot. However, the symbol, which is called a caduceus, does have strong connotations involving deceit, trickery and corporate greed. It's actually the staff of Mercury, Roman god of liars and thieves. To be fair, it would seem to be more fittingly the symbol of medical insurance companies rather than doctors.

The use of the caduceus as a symbol of medicine came into vogue in the 1850s, most likely due to a hilarious misunderstanding -- another image, the rod of Asclepius, is actually the ancient symbol for the god of medicine and healing, but it only has one snake and no wings. So, yeah, be glad you're not still living in an era when medical treatment involved getting smacked with a snake rod.

Via Medgadget.com
And don't dwell too hard on this article during your next root canal.

When they were looking for an appropriate logo for doctors and medics, they simply got the two symbols confused. It turns out sticks with snakes wrapped around them are more common in mythology than anyone realized.

#1. Cerberus Capital Management

The Symbol Is Used For:

One of the USA's largest private equity firms.

Getty
They've been known to buy a small company or two.

But the Symbol Actually Means:

A vicious dog that corners you and devours you alive.

A capital management firm works by finding companies that should be doing really well but aren't and then injecting them with some cash so that they can really shoot for the stars. At their best, they're like the gigantic corporate version of Mr. Miyagi, teaching you some "car-wax techniques" and "badass fight moves" (financial stability and investment smarts, respectively) so you can hold your own against the "local bully" (tumultuous economic climate). At their worst, they're like a gigantic three-headed dog that traps you on one side of a river and threatens to eat you alive if you ever try to escape.

Via Wikipedia
And then it pees on the carpet and swats your nose with a newspaper.

Cerberus Capital chose its name because the founder wanted to invoke the image of guarding his clients' funds. But the mythological dog is definitely best known for eating people alive and trapping them in a place they don't want to be (Hades) -- exactly the opposite of what a burgeoning company wants their new partner to do, unless that's somehow their business model.

We'd make a joke about Cerberus being an evil shadowy cabal, but founder Steve Feinberg already beat us to the punch with this comment:

"We try to hide ... If anyone at Cerberus has his picture in the paper and a picture of his apartment, we will do more than fire that person. We will kill him. The jail sentence will be worth it."

Via Wikipedia
He then drank the blood of an orphan and molested Hitler's corpse back to life before disappearing in a ball of flame.

Yeah. We'll just leave that up there all by itself.

J.F. Sargent Tumbles, Tweets and is the managing editor of Pculpa.com.

For more ridiculous backstories you need to know, check out The 7 Most WTF Origins of Iconic Pop Culture Franchises. Or check out why Hollywood knows better, but still doesn't give a shit in 5 Old-Timey Prejudices That Still Show Up in Every Movie.

And stop by LinkSTORM to learn what SWAIM really stands for.

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