Nestle means “to position comfortably” – but add a French accent to the “e” – Nestlé – and it becomes a Swiss milk-foods giant.
However, in Britain the brand name was always pronounced “nessles” – until the mid-Seventies, when suddenly the Milky Bar Kid jingle singers began pronouncing it in the French style.
And at the same time, Nestlé publically announced that while they had previously tolerated Britain’s mispronunciation of their name, in future it would be pronounced CORRECTLY.
But the gnomes of Zurich (actually, the twats of Vevey) did not reckon with the stoicism (or just plain lethargy) of the British, who continued pronouncing it as they had for decades.
Of course today, a couple of generations of Brits weened on post-70s Milky Bar ads (and possibly, Nestlé baby food) doubtless pronounce it Nestlé’s way.
But to over-60s like m’self, it will ALWAYS remain “Nessles” – meaning victory for the towering Swiss arsehole who decided to impose his will over the British public is guaranteed to be POSTUMOUS.
Nevertheless, a stateside company (now admittedly defunct) went a BETTER way.
Pan American Airways began its history conventionally enough, by using the abbreviation P.A.A. – but the US public began calling it “Pan-Am” and the name stuck.
And UNLIKE Nestlés, Pan American Airways ADOPTED it.
Even when they became Pan American World Airways, they still used the familiar name and logo…
The company’s eventual demise was caused more by bad luck than bad management – and today, the classic name and logo has been tragically diminished.
Despite which, it still resonates with MILLIONS of people – unlike Nestlé.
Corporate PR prats, take note.