What some popular American products are called overseas…and why.
• In many countries, Diet Coke is sold under the name Coca-Cola Light. It’s essentially the same product, although the calorie-free sweetening agent varies. Diet Coke in the U.S. contains NutraSweet or Splenda. In other countries, cyclamates may be used, which is an artificial sweetener banned in the U.S. in 1969 due to its link to cancer in lab rats.
• Starburst debuted in the U.K. first. Mars launched the square, fruit-flavored candy there under the name Opal Fruits (submitted by a contest winner, who won 5 pounds for his trouble). The candy came to the U.S. in 1967, but with the name Starburst. In 2008, Mars changed the name of Opal Fruits—which is what they’re called virtually everywhere outside of North America—to Starburst worldwide.
• In the early 1970s, Burger King sought to expand in Australia…except that a small fast-food restaurant in Adelaide, Australia, was already using the name “Burger King,” and had trademarked the name. Executives at Burger King’s then corporate parent Pillsbury came up with a list for the company’s new Australian division to pick from, and they selected Hungry Jack’s, a variation on the name of a Pillsbury pancake mix.
• The American discount store chain T.J. Maxx operates stores in England, Ireland, Germany, and Poland. In those countries, however, it’s known as T.K. Maxx. Reason for the incredibly small name change: The company wanted to avoid confusion with a rival discount chain called T.J. Hughes.
• This one is quite confusing. The Mars Bar you buy in the U.S. consists of nougat and almonds covered in chocolate, which, from 2002 to 2010 was known as Snickers Almond. But if you were to purchase a Mars Bar in the U.K., you’d get a bar consisting of nougat and caramel covered in chocolate—in other words, it’s identical to a Milky Way. Or, at least, the American version of a Milky Way. There’s also a candy bar sold in Europe called the Milky Way, which is entirely different and reminiscent of a 3 Musketeers. Got it?