Quiz: Do These Companies Make Diesel Engines Or Condoms?

One runs on direct injection, the other prevents it.

Left: Alexander Koerner, Getty Images News Right: AFP

Once upon a dull afternoon, during my stint in fast food, my burned-out brain confused Durex and Duramax in a talk with a customer about his truck. Looking back, it's obvious why he raised his eyebrows to my question about mileage.

Realizing my mistake later, I snickered, unsettling customers, to whom I could not disclose the source of my laughter over their Five Dollar Footlongs. When time allowed, I questioned whether more manufacturers from each industry—condoms and diesel engines—had names as easily confused. This led to further research, additional giggling, and a compilation of companies which have names that may be mistaken for those of an industry to which they do not belong.

You can take the quiz here, where your results will be shown.

Finding dozens of such brands got me thinking: Why so much overlap in naming schemes?

The answer, it seems to me, is the simple result of branding. The name of a company or product is often meant to carry connotations, to make the virtues of a product apparent from the name alone. Diesel engines, often used for heavy-duty applications, must be both strong enough to handle the duties asked of them, and durable enough to do so for years on end. Because the heavy vehicle market is predominantly male, a macho name will help sell a product to all these workmen in need of a chariot.

The condom industry, too, gears its branding toward flattering the users of their products, as well as boasting the safety of its use. Having children is not the desired outcome of condom use, so the name on the box must reassure the buyer that such possibilities are negligible.