PODS, a name that contains a great idea

It was a smart idea with a clever name.

PODS are portable storage containers. They are delivered to your door and collected for storage. While there are many such businesses out there the name PODS just says it all: it’s a succinct, apt, friendly and easy-to-remember brand in what is a highly undifferentiated and fragmented industry. They even own domain name – pods.com. Perfect.

Look more closely and you will see it says Portable On Demand Storage underneath the word PODS. It started me thinking – is PODS an extremely serendipitous acronym of Portable On Demand Storage, or is that a post-rationalized reverse acronym of PODS – a backronym?

To create a backronym, you take a word that isn’t an acronym and create a fictitious expansion for it.

Microsoft’s Bing, some quip, is an acronym for “Because It’s Not Google”. Some car owners insist that Ford stands for “Fix Or Repair Daily”. The Apple Lisa, predecessor to the Apple Macintosh, was said to refer to “Local Integrated Software Architecture”. It was named after Steve Jobs’ daughter, Lisa, who was born 1978. Likewise, the Amber Alert program is said to mean “America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response” although it was actually named after a missing child, Amber Hagerman.

PODS has logically evolved its business from storage to include moving, so the neat symmetry between PODS and Portable On Demand Storage has been stretched to include Portable On Demand Moving. A new tagline has appeared in an attempt to integrate the two thoughts:

Now that’s a shame.

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