Household Name

37 EpisodesProduced by Business Insider & StitcherWebsite

Surprising stories about how the biggest, household name brands affect our lives and culture — for better or worse. Host Dan Bobkoff finds tales of tragedy, love, strange histories, unintended consequences, and accidental success. More information at

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36: A town called DISH

June 12th, 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 …

35: You've got Enron mail!

June 5th, 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 …

34: The Legend of the Atari Burial

May 29th, 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 …

33: Muzak listening, and Alexa eavesdropping

May 22nd, 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 …

32: Who owns the Oakland A's?

May 15th, 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 …

31: Bill Nye the GMO Guy

May 1st, 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 …

30: What does a brand sound like?

April 24th, 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 …

29: LaCroix, Canada Goose, and Carhartt are cool. Why?

April 17th, 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, …

28: Victoria's Secret is Out

April 10th, 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 …

27: Harley-Davidson Rides to Live

April 3rd, 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. …

26: The Best a Woman Can Gillette

February 27th, 2019


Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin always figured razor companies convinced women to start shaving. But when they looked into it, they discovered the …

25: The VW Beetle's Dark Past

February 20th, 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 …

24: An International Amazon Mystery

February 13th, 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 …

23: Apple 1984

February 6th, 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 …

22: Martha Stewart in the Middle

January 30th, 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 …

21: Crocs: From Punchline to Fashion Line

January 23rd, 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 …

20: Does Panera Care?

January 16th, 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 …

19: Kentucky Fried Christmas

December 19th, 2018


How did Colonel Sanders and Kentucky Fried Chicken take over Christmas in Japan? PLUS: Household Name Uncut covers some Christmas decorating gone …

18: Resting Botox Face

November 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 …

17: Better Call Butterball

November 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 …

16: NASA Uncut

November 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 …

15: The Waffle House Index

November 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 …

14: Sears: There Was More For Your Life

October 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 …

13: Gangs? At Disneyland?

October 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. …

12: A Wrench in Tesla

October 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 …

11: The Amway Dream

October 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 …

10: The Macy's Home Department

September 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 …

9: The Mattress Firm Conspiracy Theory

September 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 …

8: The Jell-O Curse

September 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 …

7: The Bodies at the Brooks Brothers

September 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 …

6: Basically Starbucks

August 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 …

5: The Coca-Cola President

August 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 …

4: Trader Joe's No-Buck Chuck

August 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, …

3: The Last Blockbuster

August 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.

2: Donald and Ivana's Affair (with Pizza Hut)

August 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. …

1: TGI Fridays: The Tinder of the 1960s

July 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, …

Household Name Trailer

July 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 …

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